I understand more than anyone how difficult it can be to keep email from running your life. I’m an “Inbox Zero” kinda girl. So I thought I’d talk about some of the strategies and tools I use to keep my inbox from dictating my day, my workload and my life.
1) Turn off those silly smartphone notifications.
Do you really need to be the guy whose phone is dinging every 30 seconds? No. That’s not cool. Why would you want that particular notification, that is so damn frequent, distracting you from anything you’re doing since you know very well you constantly have your phone on you? It makes no sense. Just think about the weekend and how you might be trying to disconnect. It’s much nicer when you don’t get those annoying pings. And especially when you’re trying to get a project done. You shut down your inbox on your computer but your phone still reminds you that things are happening there. Just turn them off. It’s not worth it.
2) Think of your inbox as its own little appointment.
Every little email in your inbox needs your time and attention. So treat them like an appointment. Would you show up for an appointment anytime you want a million times a day until the good stuff happens? No. You would go when you schedule the time to. Set times throughout the day to take the time to handle your inbox activity. You shouldn’t be dealing with emails more than a couple times otherwise you’ll never handle them as efficiently as you can. Especially if you just check email all day anytime. It’s a great excuse to put off getting some of those things done.
3) Get Sanebox. It’s a literal name.
If you think setting times won’t work because you have too many emails to go through in the first place, you need to invest in Sanebox. This little guy will learn your habits and the people you communicate with so that all the junk mail will go to a separate folder and keep only the important stuff in your inbox for you to deal with first. Anytime you drag something to the Sanebox folder, it will learn to send it there from then on. And vice versa. You will be so much more efficient when you handle your inbox when you use this tool.
4) For emergencies, get AwayFind.
If you’re worried you’re going to get emails that are urgent or emergencies, definitely check out AwayFind. This app will send you a text when you get emails that are labeled this way so you’ll definitely know as soon as it arrives. It will also text you if you get an email you’re supposed to have an appointment with that day, just in case you’re on your way to meet them and they’re cancelling or letting you know they’ll be late. I love that second option. So freakin’ useful for as many appointments as I have.
5) Get a personal assistant
This has changed my life. I can spend so much more time on the things that are actually my pay grade rather than deal with all these little things that take lots of email correspondence. The day I decided to hire someone to take care of my calendar, I got 6-10 hours per week back in my life. Literally. Think about all those back and forths and scheduling and time zones and all that conversation. Now, when I want to take an appointment, I connect the person with my assistant and she gets it handled and on my calendar. Best first employee ever!
Take control of your life and let email take a back seat. The more you do this for yourself, the more likely you’ll be able to make the time to grow with you business rather than spending too much time on the small stuff.