Gmail Management Tips For Entrepreneurs
Electronic mails or emails are powerful communication tools.
Almost every person in the world uses emails. It is a tool to keep in contact with friends, family, and get business deals.
As a marketer, you should realize the value of an email list. Because you would prepare an ad, a landing page, and an offer or lead magnet to get this from your audience. And once you get the email of your prospect, the sales funnel process starts.
And as a marketer, your goal is to get as many subscribers as possible. Because these are people who will eventually buy his products or services. So, the email is your gateway to building trust with your prospect.
Ironic as it may seem, but emails can also be a source of headaches for us. This is especially when a tsunami of emails already floods up to your inbox. And you don’t know how to keep up with it.
When we are overwhelmed with the high volume of emails, we tend to spend hours reading, write, and reply to them. This is a needless stress for anyone. Because we should be masters of over our emails rather than being slaves to this stuff.
Email management can be a great challenge for us. That is why in this productivity guide, you will learn seven actionable tips to transform your inbox from mess to ease.
Here, I will use Gmail to show you how I take control of my emails.
Gmail is a free email web service of the number one search engine, Google. But it also has its paid plans which you can use if your business grows larger.
Gmail has a lot of features that you can take advantage of. And should help you be more productive than otherwise.
- Free 15GB of space
- Access to Google docs, sheets, and slides.
You can edit your documents offline.
- No installation needed, just have an internet connection
- You can access through your mobile phone
- Ability to label and use filters on your email
7 Email Productivity Tips
1) Communication Blocks
My number one tip of email is to plan when you are going to check it. And NEVER check it outside of your planned times. It’s just a distraction.
Your goal with email isn’t to get to all of it. It’s to address the important stuff. And archive the rest.
The sooner you accept that you can’t read and reply to everything, the sooner email will become less stressful. Get in and get out so you can get back to work.
I recommend your time block two or three times throughout the day. No more than an hour each day. And in these hours, you only check your emails.
And this has two advantages:
- It makes sure you stay on track with everything else. Because it is easy to read an email. And allow it to consume your entire day.
This way, you plan and set a schedule when you open your inbox. You don’t have to worry about incoming emails. Because you know that you will eventually check your inbox.
- It trains everybody else around you that you aren’t on call 24/7. It’s hard at the start though. But people in your life will get used to the fact that you take 24 to 48 hours to reply.
The less time you spend on your inbox, the more time you have on the more important things. It is not to say that emails are not important. But there is also some stuff for your business.
As an entrepreneur, you have to get work done. And your inbox can wait.
Key Takeaway: Plan Your Communication Times
One of the things that you can do to immediately cut down on clutter is to use TWO email accounts. Though this is not in my best interest since we send a lot of automated emails.
So, I have two email accounts,
- For marketing things
I use this email to sign up for different email lists to get their free offers or newsletters. But we all know that we will get a lot of automated emails after subscribing. Then, we will get more emails from them.
Around 80% to 90% of the emails we get are from robots. They are not from actual people. They are automated sequences designed to tell you about some products or services.
These emails come up at random. But whatever problems you face, some emails do not answer them. So they end up as distractions.
So, I have a dedicated email account for all this kind of stuff.
- For real humans.
This is my email for my actual work. But I also subscribed to five influencers whom I love reading their newsletters.
I recommend that you allow five influencers that you follow to get updates or read their newsletters. Of course, you can also learn from them.
This way, the emails I get are in separate places. I know what kind of emails goes to which account.
When I’m in my work inbox, I am not distracted by the marketing emails. Hence, I can focus on real work.
You allot your first 5-10 minutes of your to just scan your inbox. You scan each email to clear the clutter so that what is left are the important emails.
Here, you auto-archive and label your emails.
Yes, it’s OCD. But I have labels for all emails that get into my inbox. So that I can easily find the specific emails when I want to read them again.
I should note clients who ask questions aren’t urgent. If something is broken or seriously wrong then it’s an emergency that needs to be handled. Otherwise having a 24 – 48 hour response time is more than reasonable.
Don’t reply to any emails yet. Just scan because it will help you in the succeeding steps.
Key Takeaway: Scan the clutter away
Here, you respond to emails in order of priority.
You can come up with your list, too. But I recommend that you list down three to five clear priorities.
So when you check your emails, you know who the ones that you need to reply to. And you don’t touch other emails until you have replied to the priorities on your list.
Here’s a list of my three priorities in terms of responding to emails.
- Administrative Updates – Bills Due, Subscriptions Expiring, Broken Stuff
These are the ones that I look after first. And fix them.
I check if anyone is happy. Or are there broken stuff. Then, once all the clients are happy, I go to my third priority.
- Inbound leads
These are our sales emails for getting new clients.
Once, that scan is done. And I’ve gone through my three priorities. Then, if I still have a few minutes left in my time block, I look at those other things.
If I don’t have time left in my time block. But I haven’t gone through my priorities yet. Then those emails fall by the side. I will just check them on my next time block.
I can tell you that there are times that the emails just pile up. But life must go on. Your business will keep on growing.
When you focus on your three to five priorities, you’ll notice that the emails that seem to be important are not that urgent as you perceived it to be.
Once I figure out there are no fires, I go back to the front since I don’t get to every email every day. So anything from two days ago gets a reply and I work my way up from there. This ensures your response time stays within 48 hours.
Key Takeaway: Priority Keeps You from Inbox Insanity
5) 2-Minute Rule
When it comes to how I respond to emails that are from real people, I use the 2-minute rule. And I start with my priority list.
The principle is this:
If you can’t respond to an email in under two minutes, then it should become a task. And I forward it to our project manager.
Before, our project manager was Asana. But we moved to Basecamp.
The principle here is still the same whatever project management software that you use: the two-minute rule.
When you’re in your inbox, you are in reaction mode. You tend to react to all emails that you get at once. Even though you shouldn’t have. Only realizing that you haven’t answered to the more important stuff. So, you want to push this reaction off.
When I need to reply to a person. But it will be a long email. I also forward this to my task manager, then I set a due date so I can reply to him/her.
The reason why this system works is that it forces you to be intentional with the emails that you’re spending time on. It’s so easy to go into an autopilot mode. And just check every email, reply, and act to it.
In this way, your inbox won’t control how you spend your time. And you can be more productive.
Key Takeaway: 2 Minute To-Do Rule
You move out all team conversations and activities out of your emails. I recommend having a different platform when it comes to team communications.
Like our team does all conversation related to our companies in our project manager, which is Basecamp. We always do 95% of our communication inside Basecamp.
This allows you and everyone else to check-in and communicate with each other so that we are never restricted by email. With Basecamp’s private chat feature called pings, we can now do 100% of our talking inside it. Email is for everyone outside of the company.
What this allows you to do is when you have to check in on communications, you can go to your project manager. And know that when you’re in your project manager, those are the people that need to hear from you in less than 24 hours.
So you can communicate with your team and collaborators without all of the clutter or mess of whatever’s in your inbox.
Key Takeaway: Email Is No Place for Collaboration
The last tip I have for you is also mentioned in tip number three — it is labeling
What’s great about labeling is it allows you to quickly see, during your scan, what emails are new.
This is one important feature of Gmail is that you can tag your emails into categories. When you set up labels, you know what these emails are for. You can choose the labeling system that works for you.
This helps you with how to deal with spam a lot.
Note: I used our four-quadrant system to label my emails. With the addition of tags for my emails such as newsletters.
When I do my first-time block of email checking. And see an email that doesn’t have a tag, then I can immediately make the decision based on the categories of my labels. If it’s spam, a new client, or someone who just saw my email someplace. Then I move on with my day.
When you start labeling everything, your scan process becomes quicker. And it also allows you not to read different emails.
When you get administrative emails or marketing messages. And you don’t have time to read them, you can just click the auto-archive.
Then later on, if you want to go back and read them, you can go to that specific folder.
Key Takeaway: Label EVERYTHING!
Email management is a discipline that each one should do in your business and personal life.
It is so easy to get drowned under a pile of emails that we received. But we should not let it have control over us.
It’s going to save you a lot of time when you practice email management and discipline.
Our goal is to be more productive even with how we deal with our inbox. In the end, it will cause you to grow your business rather than a source of headaches.
Maybe one day you may reach inbox zero. Though it’s a tall order.
And until the next, keep building the business you love.