You could literally have hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox. Getting it sorted once is all well and good, but you need to keep on top of it.
You can achieve this and become an email ninja with these simple steps.
Sort your inbox
First of all, sort through your inbox, either by sender or by topic, whatever works best for you. For any emails you want to keep, create a folder and put them in there. Archive the emails you don’t need. Yes, archive them! If you were going to do something with the email you have done so by now
Organise your folders
I use three folders religiously: @action, @read, @pending for storing emails I need. You may decide to use different names but adding ‘@’ will put them at the top of the inbox. Using folders like these will keep your inbox at zero and if you don’t put things in place to keep you at zero, you’ll go back to square one.
Sort your subscriptions
You are probably subscribed to lists that you have completely forgotten about!
To prevent your inbox from filling up with loads of unwanted emails, go to unrollme.com and unsubscribe to all the lists that you don’t currently read consistently.
Stay subscribed to between 5 and 7, but these should be your ‘must reads’. Then create a rule that they get sent to your ‘@read’ folder when they come in. Then you can read them when it suits you.
Create an email schedule
You need to run your email, not the other way around! If you use Google Chrome, go to inboxpause.com and download it. You can set this up to pause your email.
However, if you don’t want to do this, set up an autoresponder explaining that emails are checked at set times and in case of an emergency to contact you another way. Check your email at a set time that works for you and deal with it accordingly. Stick to these times!
The 2 minute rule
If a task can be done in 2 minutes or less, just do it and get it done. The same can be said for email. If an email is going to take you less than 2 minutes to deal with, deal with it there and then. Even if it’s just to confirm receipt of the email, the sender will appreciate it. And if you’re not going to do anything with it, delete it.
It takes a lot to remember to do things all the time, whether you write it down or keep it in the back of your mind.
Remember, being reactive helps you get more done.
Stop keeping ‘data to lata’
If an email is going to help grow your business, use it now. Why hold onto for later? Chances are if you leave it, you will be too late as things change quite quickly in most industries.
So, you need to ask yourself that if you needed to or really wanted to, could you get hold of this email again? Could you re-sign up to a list? Could you get it from someone else? If yes, delete!
Turn off all notifications
You don’t need them. They only distract you and change your thought process. After all, you want to be in control of when you deal with your emails.
I would also suggest doing this for your social media accounts!
Create rules and templates
This is a must if you want to keep your inbox at zero.
Create rules for the places you often buy from. For example, automatically get all emails from Amazon sent to a specific folder.
Create templates for emails you send regularly and create a signature so you can just select it and send rather than typing out a brand new email each time.
This is super simple to do and will free up a load of time!
Set strict rules with your clients
You need to set some boundaries or ‘rules of engagement’ when you first start working with your clients. Explain to them that you answer emails at set times and not 24/7, and in case of emergency, give them another way to contact you. However, make sure you give them the justifications of an emergency.
The rules are up to you but I would suggest they give you as much notice as possible for changes. Ask for short and sweet emails and if it’s longer than a paragraph, schedule a call. You could also open a VIP email for your clients that only they have access to.
If you set a precedent that as soon as an email comes through you answer it right away, they’ll come to expect this in the future. Set the rules early and let them know when you can and can’t be contacted.
Start implementing these steps today and get your inbox at zero. Having a clutter-free inbox equals having a clutter-free mind!