Missed messages, slow responses, lack of courtesy. All of these lead to a loss of business and a hit on our professionalism. But the deluge of email is overwhelming and keeping up on it (plus all the social media messages) seems like a full-time job.
Here’s a few tricks I use to keep things manageable.
Make Rules – Your email application should have a function called rules. You can now have messages flagged, colored, bolded etc. Add your best clients and existing business to a rule and make sure you see it. While you’re at it make a rule for employees or key contractors since it seems like the only way people under 30 deliver time sensitive and project impacting news is via an email.
Write Good Subjects – Try to make the subject of any emails you generate descriptive. Proposal attached or Invoice are not nearly as helpful when you need to find something. Proposal for Johnson Family Shoot – 2012 or Invoice #432 Due 10/15/12 are much more useful to the recipient (and you when you start searching).
Try Sanebox – I am in love with this service. You have to bless it with some powerful access, but its worth it. It builds an initial screening list based on your social media connections like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to have a white list. You then get options for several other email boxes for things like social media notifications and mailing lists that auto sort those out. The best feature, add someone to the black hole and they are zapped. Much more effective than trying to unsubscribe to all those junk lists you’ve been added to and spam marketers. You can also move people into the SaneLater box, which will automatically prioritize all messages to be read when you have the time from that person. The best thing? It works on my mobile phone and tablet as it happens at the server level every 5 minutes.I’ve cut my clutter by 2/3rds and its made a huge difference. To get a free trial – http://sanebox.com/t/85vww.
Three simple things…. see if they can gain you back some productivity and professionalism.