I hate emailing. There I said it! The “inbox management hustle” is one of my least favorite business things, but creating SYSTEMS for emailing has certainly helped me enjoy it more. Emailing is such a vital part of running a business. It’s how we communicate with customers, potential customers, and so much more. But, spending ALL DAY in your inbox is not “vital” and is actually a total waste of time.
In this episode, I’m giving you 7 strategies for how to systematize your inbox right now — whether you get 15 emails a day or 200. Starting NOW on creating an organized inbox will be a key to scaling your business long term. Some of these strategies you may already do, while others might feel totally new. Listen through all of them, and then I challenge you to take 3 of them that resonate with you the most and implement them this week!
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7 strategies to systematize your inbox:
As much as I hate emailing, it really is such a vital part of running a business. But, spending ALL DAY in your inbox is not. That is actually a waste of your time. But at the same time, you have to do it.
Even if you don’t get a lot of emails, setting up systems for emailing NOW will help it stay under control as the inbox number climbs. No matter what your inbox feels like, you can implement these tips and start spending less time emailing and more time on other things that move your business forward.
1. Set up canned email responses.
There is literally no reason why you shouldn’t have some canned emails or template emails set up for your business. If you’ve been in business ANY amount of time, there are responses you are sending more than once, and having a great starting point each time will save you hours and hours over time.
It is no use to anyone to type out a brand new reply every time you get the same question. By doing this you get lazy each time and the answer probably gets worse.
To start building up your canned responses, every time you do a response that you think you’ll likely send again, write it REALLY WELL. Crush it. Then save it as a templated reply. Soon enough, you’ll have built up an awesome collection of emails that you can use as a starting point anytime you have to answer a common question or send a repetitive email.
This also makes hiring in your business easier. When you have templated replies, training a team member on how to reply to stuff too becomes so much easier!
You might be wondering where should you keep the template emails? Listen to the full episode to hear some suggestions for this!
2. Archive emails once they’ve been dealt with.
You might already do this. This might feel obvious, but let’s talk about it for a second.
“Inbox zero” does not mean that you have “zero unread emails”. It means that when you open your email software there are literally NO EMAILS. This is not because you’ve deleted them all after responding, but it’s because you archive the message after it’s been dealt with.
Once the person replies, it’ll come back to your inbox. You’ll deal with it, then archive it again. If you ever need to find that email again, you search in your inbox and you’ll find it.
Just like with our physical mailbox, you don’t leave every single piece of mail out on your kitchen table. No, you throw away (or delete) some of it. You keep and handle some of the ones you need, and the only stuff that gets left on the table is stuff you need to do something with.
Your email inbox is the same!
Archive emails after you’ve handled them and your inbox will feel so much cleaner and easier to manage. No matter what email software you use, it will have an archiving option!
3. Keep promotional and personal emails separate from business emails.
I’m sure you are like me and you get ALL KINDS of emails. You get the ones from Bath & Body Works that your candles are on sale, the reply-all emails from everyone in your family, and then the important stuff like client emails and invoices.
All of those should not be in the same inbox! If they are in the same inbox (which I did for a while), you should be automatically filtering them so that they are sorted. This is one of the easy systems for emailing to implement. It does take a bit of time, but once it’s on autopilot, you’ve got it managed.
The main point is that you don’t distract yourself by having all of your emails together in one place! Non-domain name-based emails are FREE. You can get anything at @gmail.com for no cost. So try setting up an email like that for some of the less vital things. Listen to the full episode to hear some other ideas and systems for emailing!
4. Don’t check your email all day long, and turn off push notifications.
If you have phone push notifications for your inbox, stop right there! You will eventually if not already, get emails at all times of the day. When you’re with your kids or husband hanging out, or at happy hour with a friend, you don’t need to know what’s happening in your inbox.
If you are getting support emails at 10:00 PM, it is not in the best interest of your or your customer to be answering those then. It is in your best interest to set a boundary to respond in the morning and it is in the customer’s best interest because you can give them the best experience that way!
So, keep the app on your phone if you want to, but turn off push notifications.
5. Unsubscribe from the things you don’t need so you get fewer pings all day!
Take the extra effort and unsubscribe from email lists that you don’t want to be on! You will thank yourself later.
Unroll Me is an amazing website where you log in to your email and it tells you what all you’re subscribed to. What email lists you’re on. I highly recommend doing this as you create your systems for emailing. You can just click within their system and unsubscribe to the emails you’re always deleting anyway!
Another option is to just make a conscious effort for say a week straight to every time you get an email you don’t want, unsubscribe to that list. This will naturally reduce your inbox time because you’re not clicking into the distraction all day!
When we are constantly getting push notifications whether that’s a little “1” on our inbox app or a push on our phone, even if we just delete it immediately, it’s still a huge distraction.
6. Know your keyboard shortcuts for easy link sharing.
You guys have heard me talk about this probably MANY times on the podcast. This takes seriously a few minutes if that but will save you so much time throughout your life.
If you use Apple products, you can create keyboard shortcuts. This is where you type in shorthand and then press space and it changes to a longer thing that you have set. You can find the specific instructions on how to create these here!
Since I know all my URLs in my business on my website, I type the URL for whatever the purpose is and BAM I have the link.
Without this, every time someone needs a link to something you’re having to go look up the link copy/paste it. Or even if you do know the link, you’re slowly typing it in.
Again it’s small. But saves time and sanity I think. I get so tired of doing things repetitively unnecessarily. This helps with that!
7. Use away messages and autoresponders.
This is one of the systems for emailing that takes the pressure off you to be in your inbox 24/7 while also helping craft a really great experience for clients and potential clients.
With your contact form, have an automated email sent right after someone fills out the form telling them that their email was received and any next steps in the meantime! I talk about this EXTENSIVELY in episode #71 so go listen to that one if you want more guidance on this.
You can even do an autoresponder that is on your main inbox for the majority of the time. This can be turned off when you’re online and in the inbox, then you put it back on when you're out of the office. That email can just be there to set expectations about a reply and to possibly guide people to resources they might be after anyway.
This will cut back on your inbox time to not feel like you have to be in there 24/7 replying to every little thing!
These systems for emailing have come overtime for me but the 7 tips I’m sharing here are a great starting point to really eliminate unnecessary time in the inbox to spend more time on what you started your business to do. I would encourage you to pick a few from this list and then get to work!