5 Ways to Get a Handle on Your Inbox

Are you overwhelmed by your inbox or spending way too much time handling email?  If so, you’re not alone.  The average New messageprofessional spends about 15 hours a week on email, and I know many people who spend much more time than that.  As an entrepreneur and small business owner, it is easy to get buried under an avalanche of email.

Here are 5 easy tips to help you manage your email effectively:

1) Set up multiple email addresses so you can appropriately direct and handle emails with ease.

For example, you might set up an “info@…”  email address or a “support@…”  address to handle requests for more information or customer service. My assistant manages this email address for me and forwards me only the emails that I need to respond to. You can set up a “ yourname@…”  email address to handle business communication that is specifically meant for you.  I also recommend having a separate account for personal email messages.

2) Handle your email at specific times during the day.

Don’t check your email a thousand times a day.  Most people can get away with checking their business inbox just 3 times per day:  in the morning, before or after lunch, and prior to the end of your workday.

3) Try to keep your email sessions to 30 minutes or less.

Set a timer if you tend to lose track of time on the computer.  Practice writing clearly and succinctly.  You don’t need to write a book when responding to emails.  If you find yourself writing the same type of email each day, create a template to save time.

4) Don’t use your inbox as a storage facility or a to-do list.

Treat email messages the same way you would treat a paper message or a voicemail message.  File it in a folder if you need to hold on to it.  If you need to act on it, act on it right away, or file it in a “action file” and then write the corresponding action on your calendar or to-do list.

5) Minimize the in-flow of messages.

Cancel email subscriptions you don’t have time to read or ones that you don’t find valuable.  If you subscribe to a lot of email subscriptions that you don’t want to part with, consider setting up filters so that they land in specific folders–not in your inbox. You might also consider setting up another email account just for promos if you do a lot of marketing research.

Follow these 5 easy tips and you’ll be well on your way to managing your email more effectively, and you’ll save a ton of time in the long run.

About Tiffany deSilva

Tiffany deSilva is the founder, CEO, and visionary leader of BrightFire Women’s Business Network, LLC.

BrightFire Women’s Business Network is the premiere sales training and coaching resource for service-based women entrepreneurs who want to increase their sales, serve more people, and change more lives.

Feedback & Comments:

  1. Tiffany, these are excellent tips! I am a bit organizationally challenged with my email and I have found folders helpful in cleaning up the clutter. I really like your idea about treating them like paper and tossing them! Thank you.

  2. Tiffany,
    Agree with every single one of your tips!
    Many people have become mesmerized
    by their inbox. By the way, people see
    when you are responding to their emails.
    And how quickly too!

  3. Tiffany, is there a 12-step for email addicts because I have a real problem with this! And my mac doesn’t make it any easier with little “fly-ins” at the top of my screen letting me know every time a new one comes in… and I MUST check… it’s a sickness. Hopefully these tips will be my remedy.. just had a fly-in and ignored it. I’m getting better!!!

  4. I think I do pretty well except for #4. Guilty as charged, LOL! Great tips, Tiffany.

  5. Great tips! I’m all about unsubscribing from lists that no longer serve me.

    I do use the multiple address names and it works well most of the time. I’d love to know how you suggest handling people sending an email to the incorrect address? one example is when I send my newsletter I’ll have folks reply to it asking a customer service question or a billing question


    • Thanks, Trudy. People do send emails to the wrong addresses sometimes. Luckily, my assistant handles my newsletter and customer service issues so it hasn’t been a big deal. If something lands in the wrong inbox that I need to take care of, she forwards it on to me.

  6. Great tips! While I do unsub from emails that are no longer applicable I do also make heavy use of the rules feature and re-route things that need my attention but not immediately. It definitely has shortened the amount of time I need to spend managing email.

  7. These are great tips! Delegating my inbox, and most importantly my contact form and new project inquiry submissions to Brian has made a HUGE difference in my productivity and focus. I can’t advocate enough delegation to a valued, trustworthy team member.

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