Email is the blessing and bane of modern business. A tool that singlehandedly can change your marketing, communication, customer service, and project management for a company. At the same time, email has become the never ending relentless march of communication that becomes an impossible burden to keep tabs on in business.
The average office worker now spends 28% of their time shifting through email. Therefore, it would only make sense that we should help businesses reduce the email clutter in their inbox.
Reduce Email Clutter Today
Have a Specific Time of the Day to Check Email
If you check your email all the time, you will never get anything done.
Timothy Ferriss, author of the 4 Hour Work Week, is the master of this. He checks his email once a week. While that might be a bit extreme for most entrepreneurs, remember that you do not have to be sitting in front of your email all day. That is a major distraction.
Create Boilerplate Responses
More than likely you have a few emails that you need to constantly send out via email. Create some boilerplate templates that you can easily replace, so you do not have to constantly write the same information over and over.
For example, as a freelance writer, clients are constantly asking me for my writing portfolio. I have an email in draft that I use repeatedly with links to different blog posts that I have written over the years. This saves me the trouble to constantly re-write them, and the client gets a good representation of my work. But please note: Make sure to customize the email enough for each recipient. While some parts of the email may be standard, others should address specific questions your recipient has.
Another idea is instead of creating boilerplate templates, turn some of these templates into video or a blog posts. This way, you might even stave off a few generic questions, and new prospects who come to your blog or YouTube channel learn more about your business.
Set up a Few Email Accounts
One of the biggest challenges most entrepreneurs have is they have one email for everything. However, as you grow you want to separate emails, based upon task. While you can have emails forward to one catchall email, you can eventually use the different email addresses to delegate tasks to assistants.
Additionally, it is recommended that you have a spam account to protect your email. I use Gmail, because I block unwanted emails through Unroll (see below).
Stop Email Chains
Do you hate those little email chains with a few words in each email. Again, the 4 Hour Workweek, is brilliant at reducing these time sucking emails. Send detailed emails with multiple options in order to reduce the number of email chains. One long email can take less time aggregately than 5-10 short emails.
It is amazing how much one product can change your life. UnRoll is a Gmail product that allows you to roll up all email subscriptions into one daily email. Instead of getting emails throughout the day, you can choose which emails you want rolled up into a daily email.
For those who batch their email processes, as discussed above, then this is an ideal tool for you to batch all your emails at once. You get a daily email where you can pick and choose which emails are relevant to your needs.
However, I would not use this for personal communication with clients, but this is great for regular subscriptions and event reminders.
This Outlook plugin uses an algorithm to determine whether the information is important or not. Essentially, Email Genie sorts out the important emails for you to read first by highlighting the important ones, so you know which emails to read first.
The big challenge with this plugin is that it only works on Microsoft Outlook Exchange, which not everyone uses.
Using Email For Your Business
Email is a great tool to help you increase your productivity. However, you must manage it properly to build your business. Like they say, work in versus work on your business, email works in a similar vein.
Make sure that you use it to work on improving your business, and do not be overwhelmed by using it too often. The ideas discussed above will help you be more productive with your email usage.
Computer Photo via Shutterstock
This Unroll sounds pretty cool. Trying it out now.
I have a Yahoo account, and I have a handful of my email accounts plugged into it. My problem is I get so much spam in my Inbox (doesn’t automatically go into my spam folder), even when I mark it as spam. Would you say Gmail’s better when it comes to blocking spam or putting it in the appropriate spam folder? I know you mentioned Unroll but it sounds more like a subscription-flow manager than a spam manager (I could be wrong.)
One super simple tip is to use a mobile app like the standard Android Gmail app or a 3rd party one like Boomerang for Android. 3 words why: Swiping to archive. It’s the simplest thing ever and makes you feel powerful. Swipe, gone, LOL. MUCH faster than desktop clicking, clicking, clicking, which makes your wrist tired. You can keep a mobile device near you, swipe away junk email — it’ll sync for a view that’s much more clear on desktop because you specified the junk emails should get sync’ed to the archives
A lot of great tips here! I wanted to mention a new service that I’ve been working on that will also help cut down on clutter…AND requires email senders pay you for your time if they wish to have you read their email. I’m calling this new idea Email Tolls and you can learn a bit more at http://www.emailtolls.com. I’d love any feedback as well!
Thank you for the article… is there a way to reduce email clutter for Gmail?