I am going a little bit off topic today because I want to talk about email management. For most of you (I guess), email has become the communication tool of choice. Personally, I try to communicate as often as possible via email instead of picking up the phone or going to see people. This way, I can manage many tasks simultaneously whether at work, with my online company and on the personal side too.
However, amazing as they are, managing email has now become one of the most time consuming activities for many individuals. So how can you take advantage of the convenience and clarity of an email without being drowned by tons of them?
I don’t think I have all the answers to this question, but I surely have a few email management tips to offer:
Getting a Blackberry to manage your emails
A little bit more than a year ago, I decided to make a big jump technology wise (remember, I am a techno retarded blogger 😉 ) and bought a Blackberry. I wasn’t convinced that this little black phone would change my life this much.
But after 18 months, I can tell anyone that the Blackberry is the best email management tool I have found so far! Whenever I have 2 minutes (in the metro, waiting on the phone, etc.) I review my email, respond and organize my week. This is the perfect tool to take care of your day-to-day business.
I have also noticed that I am able to close a lot more deals with my online company due to the fact that I can answer much faster and at any time of the day and night (that could be a problem for the wife thought…).
Skim them, solve emergencies, answer everybody within 24 hours
At work, I have a different approach. Since I can’t sync my Blackberry with my laptop (they don’t allow me due to security issues), I have to manage my mailbox differently. This is how I have made the habit of skimming all my email while I am on the phone so I can pick up on priorities right away.
When I can’t answer an email right now because it requires more time, research, etc., I answer my client within 24 hours telling him that I will get back to him once I have an answer. This way, my clients are answered within a short period of time and they know that someone is taking care of them and I can buy myself some more time to deal with other matters.
Delegate what can be done by someone else
Another trick I have found at work is to delegate all email that can be handled by my assistant. There are a lot of easy-to-do-but-time-consuming requests in my mailbox so I just forward them to my assistant.
For my online company, I dream of the day that I will have a reliable virtual assistant that can handle part of my mailbox. However, this will only come with time and trust.
Don’t go over conversation through email
Using email to answer questions is great. Getting into a debate is not the best idea on earth thought. If you feel that your answer will generate another series of questions, maybe you are better off picking up the phone and calling 😉
Having detailed conversations via your computer (or worst, your Blackberry) can become very time consuming!
What about you? How do you manage your email? Do you find it difficult? How many email are sitting in your inbox? (I do have at least 15 of them per account on a regular basis…)
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