Keeping on top of your inbox
Emails are an essential part of everyday life, but managing them, reading them, replying to them, and actioning them can all take time. There is a better way. This can be simplified and easily managed to cut down your email excess.
As a virtual assistant, my email is active all day. What comes in and how I respond to these can dictate my workflow. But if your business is not that reactive or service orientated, you can set some boundaries and, by making use of some simple tips, keep on top of your emails.
- Schedule - The clock is ticking
Set times each day to check your inbox. This may seem like a no-brainer, but scheduling time to check your emails every day is a simple step to free yourself from slaving away all day. Be realistic about the amount of time that you will need, and stick to it. You may need to allow several slots for this throughout the day depending on the volume of mail that you receive. But by keeping it within a defined amount of time you will be able to focus on the task and make clear decisions for dealing with each email.
- Prioritise, postpone or pass it on – Email triage
To maximise the efficiency of your email time, go through your mail on the preview screen and prioritise. FYI type emails can be read and filed very quickly, urgent replies can be flagged to deal with asap, non-urgent emails or items that require careful thought or consideration can be flagged to follow up. (Admin tip: make use of the follow-up task features available on email clients that will flag up when the item is due to be dealt with). And lastly, anything that you should delegate should be passed on.
- Auto responses – Degree of automation
Many email clients, such as Outlook and Gmail, have folders or tab features that you can make use of to keep track of your mail. Preferences can be set to assign specific emails to various categories, which make it super-easy to find old emails relating to certain subjects. Auto-replies can also be set-up; these are not exclusively just for times when you are away from the office.
- Drafting replies – Timely templates
For many people, there is a degree of repetition when it comes to email. If you find yourself writing the same thing again and again then it may be useful to set up a few generic emails in your draft folder. These can then be edited to meet the specific needs of the individual response without having to craft the reply from scratch each time. Be sure to make and replenish copies of these emails and save them to the draft folder too.
Take control of your emails today. By following these tips you will control your email rather than your email controlling you. A virtual assistant can handle your emails for you, fielding enquiries, dealing with replies and passing on only vital emails for you to deal with directly. Contact me to find out more.