It happens to the best of us. From time to time, everyone gets behind on their email. When this occurs, you can take heart, as there are simple steps that will get you back on track and up-to-date with your email.
Clear It Out of Your Path
The most effective way to deal with your email is to create a folder. You can label it with the date that you created the folder, which also serves as a reminder to deal with it. Move all unread email from your inbox into this folder.
To begin with, deal with each important email immediately. Delegate, delete, or answer these messages, but take care of them at once. Unanswered emails can cost you clients, therefore it is imperative to answer every email from past, current, or prospective clients.
After completing this step, each morning, before doing anything else, deal with at least two or more of these emails. I would suggest taking a moment to mark those important ones with a flag and work on them first. Answer it, file it, delegate when necessary, or delete it, but go through your email, choose a course of action, and complete it.
Deal with New Email
Try to keep up with all new email by creating folders and dealing with them as they come in. If you get behind again, refer to the above advice. A few more tips to keep in mind:
√ Don’t waste your time, or theirs, responding negatively to an angry email. This is unproductive time and could go back and forth indefinitely.
√ Responding to backlogged emails on weekends might seem like a good idea, however if you are sending less-than-welcome news, let your readers enjoy their weekends.
√ Think before using the “reply to all” feature. This will cut down on unnecessary and unwanted email to yourself and your recipients.
√ Office email is not personal. Unless they own the company, remember that the recipient’s email, sent to their office computer, is the property of their employer (and subject to their review), whether either of your like it or not.
√ Respond to all questions. Time is wasted when you only reply to half of the questions. It will only invite more emails to clarify unanswered questions.
√ If a message requires research, schedule that research, and inform the sender when you will be getting back to them.
√ Prioritize and file your email as it comes in.
Taking the time to deal with your email, as it comes in, requires scheduling on your part. Following that schedule helps to keep backlogged email to a minimum. Remember, emptying your inbox is simple (if you’re not too far behind) when you schedule interrupted time to deal with it.
JG Assistance offers email management services. Contact us if email management might benefit your business.