Do you get sucked into the infinite inbox black hole? You have thousands of unread emails, you're subscribed to junk mail galore, you can't find where that one email from a client went, and you get distracted every time a new email pops in, taking you away from whatever project you're in the middle of?
I've been there. But let me assure you - this isn't how emailing has to be. I have some tips for you to optimize your inbox and make emailing more efficient.
1. Deep Clean
First things first, let's clean out that inbox so we can actually see what we're working with! Delete all that junk and unsubscribe from those companies you bought something from three years ago and will never use again. Don't even know where to start with this? Try an app like Unroll.me to sort through your subscriptions and get everything cleaned up!
2. Create labels
Ok now that we've got things cleared out a little and can actually see the important emails, it's time to categorize those! You can create labels/categories in most email host's settings. Some of my labels include "current clients", "travel", "receipts", "bills", etc. Now go through and start moving your emails to their appropriate categories until your inbox is left only with what you still need to take action on / respond to!
3. Create templates
Take the time to think of your common responses and save them as templates. This will help make responding in the future way less intimidating. I have templates like "wedding response' to "not a good fit' to "unavailable" and everything in between. I always start with the template as a skeleton, and then add onto it to personalize my response for each email.
4. Set boundaries
I know it can be tempting to check your email all day, respond from your phone, catch up on weekends, and get back in your inbox every time a notification pops up, but I urge you to create boundaries for emailing. For me, this looks like doing my best to respond to emails during business hours only, not emailing from my phone if I don't have to, and having designated "power hours" at the beginning and end of my work day to respond to emails so I'm not getting distracted from tasks.
5. Incorporate Apps
My favorite apps for emailing are Kiwi (a desktop extension for Gmail) and Boomerang (a software that sends emails on a date and time you select, or brings emails back in your inbox when you need a reminder to get back to something at a later time).
Check out Efficient & Organized Emailing in Rise Photo Academy for more details on how I manage emailing in an effective way,. Plus take an exclusive look at all the exact templates I use to communicate with clients!
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