Although your business may fully embrace social media and instant messaging, you still rely on emails for communicating with customers, suppliers, and employees. Unfortunately, you find yourself devoting too much time to this digital form and less on the main aspects of your enterprise. You can streamline this communications process by following these three email organization tips.
- Schedule a set time. You pride yourself on responding to customer needs. So every time you receive an email, you respond to it immediately. This means interrupting your current task, which is an inefficient use of your time. To avoid this, schedule the same time each day to deal with emails – perhaps when you first come in and again at the end of the day. Then forget about emails until the next scheduled time. You can devote the bulk of your day to the rest of your business. Be sure to turn off any email notification apps so they don’t distract you.
- Organize your inbox. Are you having to wade through thousands of messages in your Inbox to find the exact one you need? Then it’s time to organize your Inbox. First, create folders classifying the different emails you get, such as Urgent, Customer Requests, or Supplier Orders. (Some email services use tags rather than folders.) Then manually go through your Inbox and move each email into the correct folder. The goal is to empty your general Inbox. Finally, set up any filters to automatically sort incoming messages into the right folder. You may have to devote a lot of time to doing this initially but it will save time in the future.
- Create mailing lists. If you’re still filling the “TO” box of your message window with several individual names, you’re spending too much time typing, pointing, and clicking. Create mailing lists, or groups, so all you need to do is specify the List name to send the same message to several people at once. At the very least, you should have lists for Customer, Suppliers, and Employers. But you can further break these down into such sublists as High-Volume Customers or Discount Suppliers.