Let’s face it. You can’t effectively run your business if you never check your email, and you can’t be efficient in managing your business if you spend all your time checking, responding and fiddling with email. It’s easy to find yourself reading an email that’s not urgent when other tasks need attention, or following links in newsletters when you need to be prepping for your next client, etc.
Email can be a handy distraction when other work needs to be done (especially if the other work is something you’re not too eager to do). Checking email can feel like an important task.
Here’s a suggestion to help you manage email so you can enjoy it when you check it, yet not let it take over your day. Let your email program sort emails. Gmail does this particularly well by using tabs that are easy to click and view (Note: they also offer folders, but those are more hidden and you have to remember to check each one).
Use Gmail to sort your emails so that only those that are important to see right away are coming to your Personal tab (which is what you immediately see when you open your email). Then, you can check that as needed throughout the day and reserve the other tabs to check at set points during the day. For example, you might check “Social” before you go to lunch.
Don’t be afraid to use each tab for different purposes than Gmail suggests. For example, I use “Forums” for emails from people sending newsletters that I don’t want to miss rather than for notices from forums. I only have 6 emails that automatically get sent to the Forums’ tab.
This way, it keeps my Personal tab free for client emails that I can quickly see “at a glance” when I check my email because that’s all that comes to my Personal tab. The newsletters for which I want to read each issue can be easily found without having to wade through anything else to locate them.
Get creative with how your email program sorts email.
Regarding newsletters, I sometimes stay subscribed to a newsletter, even when I don’t open each issue. I do that for various reasons. Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to forget the person and their services (even though I’m not in the market right now for those services). Sometimes it’s because, on the random occasions that I do open the newsletter, there’s always a nugget that I find helpful. And, sometimes it’s because I want to keep up via the subject line with what that person is up to.
But sometimes, I find that I’ve subscribed to a newsletter that’s outlived it’s purpose for me and is now simply cluttering up my inbox. For those, I unsubscribe and delete all the previous issues I’ve been saving.
I suggest Gmail because of it’s features. You can set it up to allow you to Send and Receive using your domain name email address, so you don’t have to give people a new email address.
Gmail allows an efficient way to manage your emails, giving you more time to run your business.