Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Efficient Email Management

Managing your email efficiently is one of the small ways that you can improve your customer service as well as your time management in your business. I created a demonstration that provides some valuable tips about how to process your email by using some of the Getting Things Done principals. Click play on the video below to watch...

Here are some additional tips to help you manage your email and save yourself time...

1. Create draft emails, or signature templates for common responses.
For example, here are some emails that I have standard responses for: availability, pricing info, referrals for other photographers, pictures are ready, how to use online shopping cart, payment received, getting to know you questions, vendor information, etc. About 50% of the email I receive every day can be handled in less than 10 seconds by simply using one of my signature responses, yet it would take me about 3-5 minutes for each email if I did not have these signature responses in place.

2. Set a schedule for answering emails & turn your email software off at other times.
I'm incredibly guilty of answering emails as soon as they come in so that they don't pile up in my inbox, but I know that over the course of a day, each one of those emails is an interruption to other, more important work that requires concentration and focus. By simply setting a schedule in which I answer emails from, say 8-10 am and from 5-7 pm, while turning my email off during the other times (or by setting it to only retrieve email manually- when I want to check it), I am able to effectively eliminate one more set of distractions during times when I need to stay focused.

3. Delete, Archive, & Quick Respond.
If you know it's something that doesn't require your attention, simply delete it and get it out of your inbox so you can stop looking at it over and over again. If it's something that you're kind of interested in, but can't deal with at the moment and doesn't require action from you, archive it to look at later when you have more time. If it's something that requires a quick response or a signature template, just respond to it right then and there rather than filing it and creating a task for it later. JUST DO IT - get it done with, and get it out of the way.

4. Get to ZERO
Make it a goal each day to get your inbox down to zero emails (even if it means filing some). If you dedicate yourself to this concept, you will spend less time on things that aren't important, and work more efficiently on the things that are. At first it may seem like a lofty goal, but the more you practice it, the easier it becomes!

One of the best talks about Inbox Zero (it's an hour long, but worth the listen)...

For more great tips on managing your email inbox, visit...

If you have great tips to share about managing your email, please leave your suggestion in the comments below!


  1. Ann, as a Mac user, I use MailTemplate ( for my template-based mails. It's really easy to use. I like how in can include a senders name in the letter.

  2. So the 1,146 emails in my inbox isn't OK? ;-)


    The auto responses is a GREAT idea! I just cut and paste now .... but this is MONEY!

  3. I'm down to 696 now Anne!

    This is FREEING!

  4. Even better than setting a time range of when you answer emails, set a specific time, that you will check email, and then set up an autoresponder that lets people know that you respond to email at this time M-F, and if their need is urgent to call you.

    It is amazing how liberating this is! I learned about the idea from Tim Ferriss when I met him, before his book "The Four Hour Workweek" came out. FABulous!

  5. 336 emails in the inbox ..... I'm getting there!


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