Ahh email. Without a doubt it is the biggest blessing and curse of the modern era. Nothing else has connected us so quickly whilst simultaneously frustrating us so entirely!
Before I started the Green Room I had a series on the blog called ‘post it notes’ where each week I would share one ‘note’ about wedding planning and another with a short business tip. One of the most well received posts by a mile was one where I shared how I organise my insane inbox. It was less of a note though and more of a friggin’ essay. But it was really popular and so today I thought I’d revisit it with extra tips and some more recent updates.
You can thank me later.
I get a lot of emails. And when I say ‘a lot’ I mean a mothereffinghugeamount. At least 50 submissions hit my inbox on a daily basis, nestled in nicely with about another 200-300 other messages ranging from advertising requests, press releases, press enquires and messages from brides or bloggers asking advice. And no I’m not exaggerating those numbers. I wish I was.
There is nothing worse than sending an email and not hearing anything back for weeks (or not at all!) It’s rude, unprofessional and it gives a bad impression of how you run your business. No matter how busy you are, replying to all your emails should be a top priority for everyone. No question. Unless it’s a dreaded ‘dear blogger’ email or one that’s clearly been spammed out to everyone on their mailing list, every email I receive gets some sort of reply. Some are short and sweet, others are more thought out, but it is a priority I’ve chosen to make for my business.
If it’s not clear to you already, let me put you straight – I am an email freak. Gareth often comments how I chew through emails like nobody’s business! I don’t by any means think my system is the most efficient; but it works for me and that’s the most important thing. The key to conquering something like email – that needs constant attention or it will spiral out of control – is to have a very regimented system. In a way the actual techniques you employ don’t really matter as long as you have ones that work for you.
I use Thunderbird as my email client. It works great for me because I can colour code, set up folders to keep things in check and send template replies with just a few clicks of my mouse. You can also have more than one email address hosted within the one system, which is really useful for me as I’m also in charge of The Blogcademy email account.
Here are the techniques I use that keep me sane:
Set a routine
Email can easily take over your life if you let it. But like anything, having a set routine is the best way to keep that beast under control. My advice would be to set yourself a rule as to what time of day, and for how long each day, you will dedicate to your email. No more, no less. Doing this will not only make you accountable because you then have to do it every day, but within no time at all it will become ingrained into your routine making it a lot easier to keep on top of.
If you let it, email can take over your life. This is not healthy for anyone and can actually be detrimental to your business. Before you know it it’s 5pm and you haven’t achieved anything else! If you do feel like you’re spending too much time lost in the void, set yourself a predetermined amount of time every day for it – maybe an hour first thing in the morning. Set an alarm and stop as soon as your allotted time is up. Don’t feel guilty about not getting down the that holy grail of