When I talk to other creative biz owners, the most common complaint they have at any given time is about their out-of-control inbox. “Who has the time?” they say, or “It’s just too overwhelming.” And inbox zero? “Impossible!”
There are a few major problems with having an inbox that is overflowing:
- Things get lost. Then tasks get left behind and client projects get delayed.
- Clients feel ignored. This is my #1 no-no as a biz owner!
- You feel overwhelmed or drained! You don’t have time to do what lights you up / what you love.
I promise that this does not have to be the case! I have some simple tips for managing your inbox that will help you get back to doing what you love.
- Touch it once. I admit that I have a hard time with this one, but it’s really helpful. The idea is that you only “touch” an email one time, which means that if you read it, respond right away rather than clicking over to the next email or marking it “unread”. This helps you respond to the email without letting it linger in your inbox. But what if the email takes a lot of thought or is a revision on a logo…
- Add it to your to-do list. If the email is a client asking you for something that you know will take awhile, add it to your to-do list. Do not use your inbox as your to-do list!! Instead, write the client back to confirm you received their email, and let them know when they can expect your response/next round of deliverables.
- Canned responses. You guys, canned responses save my sanity. Canned responses are email templates that you can use for different types of emails. I have a canned response for inquiries, client on-boarding, scheduling, confirming calls, and about 15 more. Heres a handy little guide that walks you through how to set them up on Gmail.
- Boomerang for Gmail. Sometimes you may want a reminder to follow up with someone after a a few days or if they haven’t responded to you (maybe because their inbox is crazy!). In Gmail, you can install Boomerang, which allows you to set follow up reminders on any given email. For example, maybe you sent out a proposal to your dream client and want to make sure to follow up if they haven’t responded within a week. Boomerang can push that email back into your inbox after a week has gone by if your dream client hasn’t responded! It also allows you to schedule your emails to send out at a later date.
- Archive. If you’re starting from a point where you have hundreds and hundreds of emails, just start by archiving them. Archived emails are still around (not deleted), and if you just do a simple search, you can easily find them without cluttering up your inbox.
Those are my top 5 tips for managing your inbox! Here’s my inbox for proof that it can be done!
Did I leave any out that you’ve tried? Let me know and feel free to share your cleaned up inboxes with me.
ps- Gmail did not promote this post! This is just my genuine opinion and what works for me but if Gmail wants to throw some $$ my way, I wouldn’t be mad at it. Heyyyyyyy Google. 😉