Let’s be honest – your inbox can feel like your worst enemy sometimes. No matter how hard you work at it, sometimes emails just creep back in your inbox. You may feel like you are alone in this, but you are not.
More and more entrepreneurs and freelancers feel the weight of their emails.
When asking members of our community where most of their emails came from, most of them answered – free stuff. “I was a freebie addict at first and signed up to anything that I thought may quench my thirst for knowledge. I then got bombarded by sales funnels and became very overwhelmed” recalled Wendy Rogers “I put on my big girl knickers and embarked on a ruthless unsubscribing mission. I cleared anything where I felt I didn’t feel an affinity. A combination of this and using folders in my email client have helped drastically reduce my inbox.”
The truth is, we spend around 28% of our time in the office in our inboxes, and 40% of us check work emails at least five times a day outside of working hours.
The truth about the Nirvana
Most of the time the most pressure comes from ourselves: “I started full time in my business just over a year ago and as time has gone on my inbox has gotten crazier and crazier. I am one of those people who likes to have 0 unread messages, and consequently, I used to put a lot of pressure to reply to all emails as they came in and make sure my inbox was empty by the end of each day. Over the past 6 months, I’ve been putting in place practices to remove that stress” shared Cam Dempster
As a type A personality, is just to let that whole ‘0 message inbox’ thing go. And that comes from a more holistic mindful practice. Those three things, although simple, have made a huge difference to my inbox and concurrent stress levels.Cam Dempster
The first step to having a better relationship with your emails is to acknowledge that you have the power to organise your “email time”. I am sharing a few strategies that can work – it’s not a one size fit all solution, nevertheless you will find most people combine two or more of these strategies to optimise their email time.
Strategy: Setting boundaries
The truth is that most times we are our worst enemies when it comes to tackling our inbox. One of the trickiest things to set, when it comes to emails, is boundaries. Since it’s really hard to have a face to face conversation with people nowadays we have to find other ways to communicate – and emails have almost become the best way to conversate with teammates and clients alike.
One way to do harness the urge to hit reply, is make sure you promptly address overdue emails “if I am more full and busy I send those people awaiting return emails a quick text or DM to let them know I have their email and will reply on a date where I can set aside time to actually do it” Cam Dempster
Most of my team nowadays clearly state when they are online and on emails by writing it in their signature. This way people know when to expect a response to a question – especially in cases their email does not fall under an urgent matter.
Whether you create an autoresponder or edit your signature, creating better boundaries is key.
Time blocking can be an incredible asset when it comes to emails and email scheduling – especially since, the more you check your emails, the more you bounce between tabs on your browser.
Whether it’s 25 minutes or an hour, scheduling time to respond or send emails can make a difference to your whole day.
I always suggest to focus on one task at a time, but you can work on up to 3 things. I like the idea of one thing, and one thing done WELL.
Learn what is a ‘power hour’ and how it can work for you.
On the iPhone, you can alter the screen to grey scale so those pesky red notification dots don’t tempt you and lure you in.Cam Dempster
Strategy: email scheduling
Scheduling emails can be a great way to make the most of your personal best email time (may that be morning or late evening) whilst sending your emails at times your audience is ready to receive them in their inbox!
This is a very handy tip that can work very well combined with time-blocking.
It’s more and more common for people to schedule emails. In the past, you could use third-party tools to do this – nowadays, Gmail allows you to do that from your inbox.
Read here to find out how to schedule emails via Gmail
There are so many ways you can make emails work for you. Inbox nirvana does not necessarily equal to inbox zero. It’s all about the pressure that we put on ourselves.