If you feel like you’re spending way too much time on your email, you’re not alone — and there is help. There are ample resources for outsourcing your email, or at least automating it so that it doesn’t overwhelm you.
Letting someone else — or bots — handle your email can free up hours of your day. You’ll be much more likely to attain the satisfaction of inbox zero, and you’ll discover new levels of productivity? Sound good? Let’s get started.
Set Inbox Rules
If you find yourself sorting and labeling email for hours, or if you’d rather not see those email newsletters until you’re ready to read them, implement inbox rules that will handle them for you. Some helpful rules might be:
- File emails from a certain sender (e.g. a listserv) into a special folder.
- Star emails from your boss or label them as “important.”
- Filter emails on which you’re only CC’d or BCC’d into a separate folder.
- Automatically delete notification emails after 24 hours (or whatever time period you choose).
By letting your email provider or client handle the bulk of your organizational tasks, you’ll have more time to actually read and respond to emails.
Use an Autoresponder
Automatic responses aren’t just for days when you’re out of the office. If you’re truly inundated by email, or if you want to acknowledge people’s messages and provide them with additional information (such as a better way to reach you or whom they should contact for certain questions or topics), you can use automatic responses to handle your replies.
For example, if you’re the editor of a publication, you likely receive dozens if not hundreds of email inquiries every day. You can set up an automatic response to provide a friendly response to each email along with a timeframe in which you’ll get back to them.
By automating your responses, you can ensure consistent, professional replies no matter what time of day the emails come in. Just be sure that your autoresponse is free of errors!
Hire a Virtual Assistant
If you’re a business owner, spending time answering emails is eating into the time that could be spent growing your business. Why not outsource your email to someone who handles it as their profession?
Virtual assistants can process your email and send only messages that need your special attention. They can also quickly whip up email responses and properly formatted emails so that you can avoid fighting with your email program or staring at your screen tryin to think of what to say.
Email doesn’t have to be a drain on your work day — but you might need to take some steps to make it go away, at least temporarily. To recap, you should use inbox rules to sort and filter as many emails as possible, then use an autoresponder to handle replies. If you’re really overwhelmed by email, hire a virtual assistant to professionally manage your email. By managing your messages with automation and outsourcing, you can be better able to manage your life. Plus, you just might get your day back.