Now that there is finally a hint of spring in the air, I want to be outside more and sorting through my email inbox less. As a business owner, I process 500+ emails every day and it’s not easy to keep up with the constant flow. Here are 6 ways I am regaining control of my inbox so I can spend more time hiking through the woods.
1. I let Google manage my “domain” email
I run two companies and manage 3 email addresses. “Google apps for business” makes sure that every email I write, send and receive from any device appears on every device. I still process most of my email with Apple mail and the new “inbox by Google” app (that I’ll tell you about in a sec). Google charges me $5/month per email address, and when I need tech support, their phone support has been terrific.
2. UnRoll Me
I don’t understand how I ended up on over 500 lists! Signing up at Unroll.me made the process of unsubscribing quick and easy. Every week, I’m added to at least 3 or 4 more lists and unroll.me continues to offer to unsubscribe me with a simple click. For the lists I want to be on, I can either “roll them up” into a daily email or send them to my inbox.
3. Google Filters
It allows me to set filters on emails that aren’t essential. For instance, I send all of my REI coupons directly to archive, so the coupons are there when I need them, but I don’t see them come in. Same thing with monthly invoices/receipts —and I monitor my credit card to make sure the charges are correct. Using filters, I also “star” all client email addresses, so they float to the top of my inbox.
4. Inbox by Google App for iPhone
I’ve been using this app for about 6 months now and it allows me to process email quickly as I find small bits of time in car pool line or in line at the grocery store. I can defer an email for a future date, pin an email to the top, or set a reminder. Inbox magically knows about my trips and my airline reservations fly back into my email box right when I need them.
5. Deal with it, defer or delete it
Now that I’ve eliminated 90% of my emails, I can choose to:
- Deal with an email if it requires under 2 minutes of my attention.
- Delete if I’ve dealt with it and get it out of my inbox.
- Defer it until I have time to deal with it, using the mailbox app.
At the end of each day, my goal is to reach “inbox zero”. I’ve reached this nirvana a few times, typically when I’m traveling and have a couple of hours of uninterrupted time to process.
6. Set Boundaries
My last tip isn’t technical, but it happens to be my favorite. I don’t check my email first thing in the morning because I set goals for myself every day and checking email first thing always blows me off course. I process emails a few times a day and keep it turned off the rest of the day. To stay on top of things, I forward as many emails as possible to my assistant.
So whether you begin using a few of my tactics or have some of your own, how are YOU managing your inbox, so you can get out and enjoy some springtime fresh air?