E-mails can be overwhelming, but they don’t always have to be.
Okay. Fun with emails is fun with emails, and we all joke about the spam – you know the Viagra, the “send me money and I send you millions’, etc – but lots of times they get us all a bit crazy, or if we are lucky, the e-mails giving us work information and contacts overwhelm us but are welcomed.
In my business, email is 90 percent of the communication I have with clients and potential clients, and organizing my email is important as a backup of sorts of their important information.
Accordingly, I have mastered a method where I never have more than 25 emails at one time, and it never takes me more than ten minutes four times a day to keep up with the nonessential, non urgent, family oriented, friendly “non-spam spam’.
I do check my e-mail throughout the day, all day, every day for my professional, business email. I have to. I have clients who send me work constantly and consistently all day every day, and they all need immediate attention, whether I find the subject important or not. Every email I receive is usually responded to within 15 minute without interrupting or interfering with my day-to-day business chores. Because, to me, email is a day-to-day business chore.
Have you ever checked your email at night and seen that “can you do this by end of day’ and missed the opportunity for a business project or professional connection?
The method I have developed for myself has helped others I have worked with in the past keep up with their professional and personal email and still get “everyday’ work done on time and professionally.
I chuckle sometimes when I hear people say they have hundreds of emails to sort through when they wake up or even worse, when they are trying to wind down for the evening. They find themselves up for hours sorting and responding to the email making their day longer than it should be.
It wasn’t easy for me to figure it all out, but now I go to bed with an empty email box and wake up and within 20 minutes of opening email, my in-box is empty, every email responded to, sorted, saved or deleted. And my deleted items is empty and most often, my sent folder is empty.
It drives me crazy when others ask me to sort and organize their email and everything they have ever done is sitting in sent or deleted items folders.
How do you ever find anything?
Yes, I get about 500 emails a day to just one email address and I have 7 I use daily for both personal and professional business. No, I do not just delete them, I read every one and sort accordingly.
It is not that difficult. It does take some discipline and some great organizational skills that for some must be learned – the same skills we use every day to organize the other aspects of our life. I give email the same ‘respect’ I give my clients work, and in the end, it respects me back.
I call it ADHD OCD email procedures.
I think of it as being like an exercise. You have to want to really commit, but once the routine is established, it is just that routine. And when you think about it, your email is just as important as your weight, your health, your clients, and your projects. So why treat it as a secondhand, unwanted, terrible thing?
Of course it can be a headache, more like a migraine, if you let it go and put it off, or don’t use the email programs in the best way possible. No one ever teaches us how to do anything but set up to receive, read and delete. That is what the problem is. We began using this great tool thinking it is just a means of receiving/sending electronically what we would have mailed by way of snail mail.
It is so much more than that. It is a social networking tool that allows us that in, that even the best social networks sometimes cannot give – but they do allow you to inform others of your email address. So what would they be without email?
And think about this…the better you are with handling your email, the more likely your email will be read and handled quicker by others when they receive it.
It’s all in the organization.
I have organized many client’s email and once organized they have stated it is easy to keep up. When they slip up due to vacation or other personal or professional dramas, they call me in and I clean it up again. I don’t even have to be involved in they day-to-day operations of the business to know how to do it, the clients just have to know their day-to-day business – how easy is that?
I consider e-mail an important part of any business.
It is the first social network ever developed. It is also the first electronic filing system, in my opinion, and a great backup system to some pretty important information.
If you don’t keep it organized, you can and will miss something.
I am working on putting my personal system down step by step. It is a bit hard for me to do because every person’s email is in need of personalized organization, and well, as you can tell by the name of my blog, I have kind of random thoughts and not as great a writer as many of my clients, but as a self-proclaimed organizational freak, I will get it done and be sure to post.
If you are interested in having a bit of electronic organization done – or your office organized specifically for you – let me know. I enjoy a challenge that at the end of the task, you see a difference not just in the space but on the face of the client.
How do you handle your email?
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