Checking or reading email is one of the most stressful daily activities business owners carry out.
If you hate opening your email because you dread to see that “Unread Email” figure, then this blog is for you. We show you how to get your inbox from thousands to zero! It’s possible – you just need a little bit of consistency and dedication! And us by your side. 😊
Do you know that the average person receives between 100-120 emails a day – and that’s not including spam! As a business owner, we will typically send about 40 emails a day. That’s a lot of time in our inbox.
80% of us check our email everyday. And you know that feeling as you open up your inbox… the dread of seeing how many unread emails have arrived overnight.
But we can change that feeling – and we can do it pretty quickly! Take back control of your inbox and feel the weight lifted off your shoulders.
Today we share with you our 5 favourite ways to remove inbox anxiety and save you hours each week. But before we go any further, make a note of the number of emails in your inbox so you have a benchmark to work with. Better still drop us a note of how many emails you had at the beginning and end of this exercise.
Step 1 - Draw a line in the sand
If you’re looking at an inbox with hundreds or even thousands of emails and don’t know where to start, don’t panic! We’ve untangled an inbox with over 23, 000 unread emails – so it’s all doable! And on average we only open 22% of our emails, so if you haven’t opened one yet, the chances are you never will!
With this in mind, pick a date and draw a line in the sand – make it no more than 4 weeks ago.
Create a folder with this date on and file away any email older than this date in it. Don’t worry, you’re not deleting anything. It’s just all tidied up and out the way.
With Google’s Gmail you are able to bulk file, so this action will take you no more than 10 minutes. And Gmail has an excellent search feature, so you will always be able to find what you’re looking for.
Step 2 - Create folders for your email
And be diligent about using them! Create no more than 10 folders – otherwise it can become tricky to remember where you put what. Some of our favourites include:
- Digital Tools & Services
- Finance & Legal
- Industry updates & Marketing
- Website & Branding
- Personal Development
Be strict about setting aside time in your work calendar (We LOVE working in timeblocks) to file away your emails regularly – be it weekly or daily.
Step 3 - Unsubscribe
Be honest, how many email newsletters have you signed up for? AND how many do you actually make the time to read? We all have the best intentions, but we are time poor. So many of those email newsletters are either not relevant or too long!
Have an unsubscribing extravaganza!
Use the search feature in your inbox to find emails with the word “unsubscribe” in them. Any email marketing newsletter you have ever signed up for should always give you the option to unsubscribe. Therefore, this search should pick up all those emails you have subscribed to.
Now give yourself 20 mins to unsubscribe to as many as possible. Be strict with yourself!
Step 4 - Filters and Bypasses
Having worked through Steps 1-3 your inbox will be a lot lighter. Now we get to the bit where we are prepping for future emails landing in your inbox!
Take the time to set up rules so that emails arrive in your inbox already labelled with the folder they sit in. Gmail is excellent for this. You can set up rules which ensure that all the emails from clients, the digital tools you use, invoices, industry news, coaching emails and admin emails arrive in your inbox labelled with the folder they sit in. Now you can file in bulk and quickly work out which email needs your attention first!
Better still, you can also set up rules so that emails bypass your inbox altogether and land straight in the folder assigned to them. This is perfect for marketing newsletters. Timeblock 15-30 minutes in your working week to catch up on all your industry news. You’ll find all those interesting emails in one place!
Step 5 - Create email templates
You must find yourself writing the same sort of email again and again. Whether it’s enclosing an invoice, chasing a proposal, checking in on a client, asking for feedback, delivering a report or chasing payment!
Don’t waste time re-writing emails which you send out regularly.
Create a series of email templates which you can tweak to personalise but will still save you hours of time. You can keep these in one long document or (if you use Gmail) save them as templates within your inbox. This makes sending out those semi-awkward or time-consuming emails so much easier. You won’t be spending hours thinking of creative/sensitive ways to word things – just get it right once, and re-use again and again!
So there you have it! Our tried and tested steps to reducing inbox anxiety, managing your email and giving you back hours in your working week! You’ll be able to nurture leads easily and manage clients seamlessly.
A well-kept inbox will have you shutting down your computer and walking away from your desk earlier every single day. You will completely eliminate the email stress you once felt.
The next step, right now … drop us a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know the number of emails in your inbox. Or DM us on Instagram. We promise to get back to you.
Nina & Sarah xx