{Handmade Business in 31 Days — Day 7, Managing your email.}

Day 7// A couple years ago I used to do all of my online work with my email open in a separate tab. If a new message popped up, I clicked over to read, and oftentimes reading an email would remind me of something else, and so on I went to yet another tab {different from what I was doing a minute ago } to chase after my “something else” and soon a half hour passed and I still hadn’t accomplished the task I started out doing. Whew, that was tiring. And a lot of back peddling. My point is this: email can be a good thing, but it can be an terrible thing when you let your inbox control you + your business.

In order to manage my email I have set hours every day when I check it. These hours aren’t formal office hours and I don’t set a lot of rules for the task. Too many rules and I start to feel owned by my inbox, but hey — that’s just me. Maybe for you setting a timer is best. But what I’ve found is when I don’t separate email time from the other online tasks I’m supposed to be doing, I get nothing done. N O T H I N G.

timeless simple vintage home accessories via momtastic

Managing your email doesn’t need to take hours from your day, every single day, day after day. Back in August, Simple Mom shared some personal tips to getting back on track with her inbox… be sure to read her post. But in addition to that, I want to encourage you to take some time to think about what sets you back from accomplishing all you need to accomplish on a daily basis — because you’re letting your inbox own you.

I know it’s exciting to see a new email pop up. I get it :) But those goals you set last week, that blog you’re trying to set up, those new products you’re trying to design + launch, the budget you need to stick to, the expert you’re trying to become how are you doing all of this if your mind is constantly getting off track?

EMAIL TIPS THAT WORK FOR ME:

  • Do your very best to check email once in the morning and once in the afternoon
  • Sign-out of your email when you’re not reading or replying {but still working online}
  • Emails marked as unread are just that, not read
  • Emails that require an action from you sit in your inbox as read
  • Everything else gets archived {we use Google mail}
  • Turn off ALL alerts, including from your computer and/or smart phone
  • Set up canned responses for the replies you’re repeatedly writing, but remember to personalize them a bit for each unique situation

Before hiring a personal assistant to help us with the business {including customer service emails, advertising, marketing, project planning; more on this later in the month} I spent a lot of time with email. Hiring an assistant has allowed me to focus on the emails only I can answer, plus the short list of tasks only I can do. {All other tasks are assigned to someone on our team.} If you feel buried by email, perhaps you need to ask for help, too. 

More importantly though, I needed to learn how to manage our email like a responsible business owner. It’s not possible to grow my business if I’m checking my email multiple times each hour.

One day I had a realization: if I were to write down all the things I did that made up my workday would I feel proud or embarrassed over that list?

…and so that’s all I have to say about managing your email.

Homework// Think about the time you spend managing your email on a daily basis. Do you feel accomplished with your inbox? Are your other daily tasks getting done, too? Spend some time writing a plan so you can resolve whatever email issues you have right now.

What one area of managing email do you need the most help with, and what one area are you a rockstar in?

read all posts from our “31 Days” series here

Comments

  1. 2

    Donna says

    Boy did you hit me on the head today. I am ashamed to admit how much time I waste on my computer every day. One email leads me to another site then another site, etc, etc. I will say that I refuse to read emails with my phone because then I would never get a rest. But one of my biggest pet peeves is to be with ANYONE who can’t even carry on a conversation with me because of their email notices on their phone. And especially when we are in a resturant trying to enjoy a meal and face to face time.
    I do see the error of my ways with my emails and will start unscribing earnestly. I would rather be a successful business person than to be ruled by meaningless emails. Thank you for all of your time to help us become successful. Hugs

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  2. 3

    says

    Riveting stuff Gussy girl. I just turned off my email and instagram notifications on my phone after reading this. We live in a society that is obsessed with their phones. Anyone could find value in this post. We are all way too distracted and I desire a more focused life. Thank you for this wonderful post!

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  3. 4

    says

    Nailed! I’m a compulsive email checker. (On my computer. I don’t ever check it on my phone since it requires wi-fi, but I’m sure I would if I had a smart phone.) I’m going to try this week to get a handle on this issue. Also, I can’t believe I’ve never thought to use the archive feature for the messages I’m not ready t to delete but that don’t need action. I can’t wait to have only unread & “needs follow-up” messages in my Inbox!

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  4. 5

    says

    Ok I am totally laughing to myself here!!!!! Yes yes yes!!!! Only check email twice a day, turn off alerts, sign out of email!!!!! This is genius!!! Such easy but totally smart ways to save time. I am totally going to do this for the next week and see the difference it makes!!
    So so so excited!!!! Thanks for sharing!
    Angela

    [Reply]

  5. 8

    says

    As I started reading this blog post, I noticed that my email tab was up. It’s up ALL the time, and I click over to it constantly. The little “ding” from my ipod when I get an email makes me so happy, but you’re right, I’m spending WAY to much time on email. I’ve turned off the notifications, and I’m going to try to set aside specific times to read and reply to email.

    [Reply]

  6. 10

    says

    I’m coming to this series late, but I so needed this! I just disabled my email checker on my Chrome bar because you are right- it’s too distracting! Thanks for setting me free.

    [Reply]

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