Are you tired of email taking over your life?
Rather than letting email make you feel swamped and overwhelmed, take control over your email.
Working remotely is becoming more and more prevalent every year, and with it communication challenges mount.
Email is still the primary business to business communication channel. Combine that with the remote workforce needing more digital touches to successfully coordinate and execute work and you get inbox overload.
This may seem to be a daunting task, as you look at your inbox filled with more than a thousand messages (most unread). How on earth can you possibly manage this?
You can! But you may need a little help here and there.
Don’t despair – your email productivity can improve! It just takes a little work and some strategy.
What Can Happen If You Let Email Get Out of Control
Whether you are looking to improve your email productivity for your personal life or your business, a lot of bad stuff can happen if you don’t get it managed. Potential problems for people in business include:
Losing Out on Important Sales Leads
You could be spending a lot of time doing outreach to generate new business – now, what is the point if you are missing the actual response that came into your email box?
Customers want to feel valued and respected, and, for good or for bad, their expectations about communication these days is exceptionally high. If you drop the ball, they will drop you. Period.
Missing Out on Opportunities to Build Customer Relationships
While you may not have a problem with responding to emails from potential and existing customers, you could be missing out on more business if you are not engaging with them more proactively via email.
5 Email Habits and Automation Tools to Increase Email Productivity Tenfold
Knowing that a good email strategy is essential to business, as well as maintaining your sanity in your personal life, here are some tips to improve your email productivity.
1. Filter, Filter, Filter
If you are not using filters to manage your emails, then you need to start now. Free email service providers offer ways to filter your email, as do most email clients. You should filter newsletters into specific boxes and perhaps add stars or other designations to emails you do not want to miss.
Email service providers like Gmail and Outlook come out of the box with filtering and rules. This allows users to create rules, based on saved filters, which automatically move emails with certain subject lines or senders to specific folders. Organizing your inbox based on these filtering rules will ensure you don’t needlessly sort through unimportant emails and go right to the most pertinent contacts’ messages.
2. Automate Calendar Scheduling
If you have regular meetings that need to happen, you know it can be a total pain to schedule. Using an automated email calendar scheduling tool can make a huge difference. It enables you to send out an invite and give the email recipients a choice of scheduling options, to eliminate all that annoying back and forth.
Calendly is one such meeting scheduler. This tool allows you to send a link that is tied to your calendar. The recipient can then browse your available times and schedule a meeting without all the back and forth emails.
This is a huge time saver since you won’t have to ask what time zone the person is in, propose days and times and send an invite. All of this is done for you in a few simple clicks.
3. Use Templates for Email Responses
Email templates can be a great way to handle email responses and follow-ups without the need to waste time drafting new messages for similar topics. By setting up a template in advance, you can save time having to type the same thing over and over again. Automated email engagement tools like Mixmax allow you to easily create various templates and variables within templates. These variables allow you to customize each template email with things like first names, time of day, or any variable you need to be populated in the email.
You can take templates a bit further by automatically including calendar links (like Calendly) in case the recipient wants to schedule a meeting or supporting information like a deck or whitepaper. The more streamlined your communications are the less emails you need to manage back and forth.
4. Set Aside Time to Check Email
It may be tempting to haphazardly check your email on and off throughout the day, but this can be a total drain on your productivity. While we aren’t suggesting you just check it once in the morning – clearly, you will need to check it throughout the day – set a schedule for it.
For example, you might set aside a half-hour every morning to clean out your inbox and take note of any important emails for the day. Then, you might check your email once per hour during the workday, and then spend another 30 minutes at the end of the day responding to emails that need attention before you leave.
The exact schedule will be up to you. Consider timing yourself to see how much time you realistically need for email.
5. Separate Personal and Work Email
You do not want to waste your work time having to cull through the annoying political emails being sent by your old high school friend. Make sure you have a strong delineation between work and personal email, so you can be the most productive while at work.
And PS: Don’t be afraid to tell your friend that you’d like to keep your email discussions personal, not political.
Your Email Usage Can Become More Productive
Email can be a huge drain on your time and energy if you do not have it properly automated. Fortunately, email automation technologies can make a hugely positive impact on your productivity. With the right technology set in place to manage your email, you can become 10 times more productive – or even more! That means more time for the rest of your business, and your life!