Is your inbox dictating your life?

It's not necessarily marketing related, but I was asked today, "is your inbox dictating your life?".  And it used to, but not any more. 

Do you schedule a time to tackle your inbox or are you constantly checking it throughout the day? 

Do you see an email arrive and drop everything to read it and reply or action - even if its not urgent? 

It's so easy to let your inbox dictate your day and then your productivity ends up going straight out the window. 

There are heaps of tips and tools to help you manage your inbox out there (simply google 'managing my inbox' and a plethora of sites come up with a gazillion different suggestions, tips and tools).

I like to keep it simple.

1. only check your inbox twice a day (three times at the most)

One way to help manage your inbox and your workflow is to only look at your inbox at certain times during the day.

Some people hyperventilate when I suggest this - and yes, it can be quite scary to commit to this. But, boy does it make your day so much more productive.  For me it's usually around 9:30am and 3:00pm. I figure if there is something really urgent to action then the person emailing will follow up with a phone call if I haven't responded immediately. 

"But my clients expect me to respond straight away" is a common response when I suggest this tip. A simple solution is to set the expectation by utilising your Out Of Office to respond to emails letting you know that when you access emails. 

For example, my OOO says:

Hello there!

Thank you for getting in touch - I hope you're having an awesome day. 

This automated message is to let you know that your email has landed. I check my emails at specific times during the day and will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Otherwise, feel free to give me call on 0409 329801. I would love to hear from you. 

Stay awesome, sassy or fabulous... or all three!

2. set up email categories and automatic filing

The other thing I do is have emails categorised and automatically segmented as they arrive.

Having these categories set up leaves my Primary inbox with emails that I need to action - and gives me the time to only check emails twice daily. And that leaves the majority of my time available to focus on working helping clients with their marketing and making a difference for their business. Which is, after all, the whole purpose, the why, of starfish marketing.

Setting up email categories allows you to schedule days like I'm having today. Days that are dedicated to going through those inboxes and taking the time to read, learn new things etc.

I call these 'on my business' days and I try to have at least two a month. Most days I'm working with clients to help them with their marketing, however its important to also take the time to work on my business, check in, make sure I'm staying true to my why. If you can schedule in these days it can help keep you focused on the true purpose of your business.

Your mission from here

Do four simple things to help you stop your inbox dictating your working life

  1. set up your Out Of Office to set expectations of response times
  2. set up categories and rules for your emails to auto-segement
  3. commit to only checking your emails at those specific times (and reward yourself when you do)
  4. schedule in "on my business" email days into your calendar

What tips do you have for managing your inbox?

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