Tag Archive: managing email



businesswoman on hurryRecently I had a need to reach out to a few people who provide graphic and branding services.  I did my homework as usual then narrowed down my list before making connections.  I have to say that what I thought was just my normal process didn’t exactly yield what I was looking for.  My usual experience is that when I reach out, people reply to my email or return my phone call.  That is not what happened.

I sent two emails on Sunday afternoon because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make the call on Monday given how my day looked.  Between Tuesday and Wednesday I made calls to three other resources, and didn’t reach any of them but left my number and email address with details as to the reason for my call.  I heard back from absolutely no one.  Needless to say by Thursday I was pretty frustrated and wondering if I should start my process over again and reach out to others on the original list I had made.  On Friday I was able to connect with one of the people I had emailed to find out that it had been a crazy week for her, which was the reason for her not getting back to me.  That was two weeks ago and you know that none of the others ever connected with me.  These days people are so caught up in things, they don’t even know which way is up and aren’t able to manage themselves.

Clearly, these folks are in a position where they aren’t running their business, their business is running them.  The observation from that experience is that so many business owners have full plates and clearly are struggling to manage it all.  But if you are struggling to manage yourself, how are you serving your clients?  I mean, really, not even a quick reply to an email or returning a phone call, seriously?   If you’re in a space where you can’t even return a phone call then it’s definitely time to do something different. Not being able to respond doesn’t give people the greatest impression of you, especially potential clients.  How is your business going to survive if you aren’t able to manage communications well?

Now, I get that many are a one-woman show–I am too for that matter, but there is such a thing as putting measures in place to give you the necessary support to run your business and actually be of service instead of flying by the seat of your pants. If you are struggling to manage it all, get some systems in place to support you.  Stop the madness! Some hear the word “system” a either panic or just tune out altogether.  Systems aren’t complicated.  Did you hear me?  Well, let me say it again…systems are not complicated.  People make them complicated.  A system is simply a series of processes, the tools to support the processes and the people to perform the tasks.  That’s it, three components and nothing more.  A good communications system contains the well thought out processes, tools and people to manage incoming email, calls and ongoing communication with existing clients, colleagues and vendors.  If you’re a one-woman show, take a step back and make the time to create your communications system and implement it ASAP.  If you can’t be the one to handle everything find a solution for it.  It can be as simple as an automated reply that lets people know that you’ll get back to them within 24 hours, passing the email on to a virtual assistant to handle, or having a VA handle your email allowing you to reply to those that only you can address.

I think that you’ll agree that communication is vital in any situation and if you’re dropping the ball with your clients, you’re setting yourself up for an epic fail.  One that can be difficult to recover from.  How you manage your business impacts your reputation as well as your bottom line.  I’m sure that if you’ve had the type of experience that I had or a similar one, you wouldn’t want to do business with those particular folks because, like me, you can anticipate what your experience of working with them would be like just from the initial experience you had of them. Bottom line, either you’re running your business or your business is running you.  If you’re looking for some help to jump start the process in creating your communications system, get my complimentary Key Business Systems package here.

 


One of the biggest time wasters for people is technology.  As much as things are created to help us, technology is a big hindrance for many people and can lead to a great amount of your time being wasted.  Using technology in a way that supports you can increase your productivity.  The day-to-day things that end up on your list can get out of control, so it’s important to keep it lean.

Whether you find technology cumbersome or not, one thing that most people have to deal with no matter what they do is email.  We use email for everything now, which cuts down the time it takes to receive things we need and helps keep things moving.  Right now, chances are that your email is overloaded and you might even be wondering how you’re going to get to it all.

If your current email program isn’t helping you to control your email as you’d like, consider using SaneBox.  SaneBox separates your most important emails from the ones that can wait, helping you prioritize the way you read your messages and saving you time and frustration.  Now, this isn’t another email program, it’s an application that works with your current email program, so there’s nothing new to learn.

SaneBox uses up to 5 levels of importance.  You can use those levels to fine tune the flow of your email or you can allow the application to do it for you.   SaneBox uses sophisticated algorithms to prioritize the email you receive. The important stuff goes straight to your inbox and everything else gets stored in other folders for later.  The calculation of importance is done by the algorithmic engine.  Only the engine looks at the headers of your emails and your social network connections, not people.  Their engineers work on the algorithmic engine not the email.  Your email isn’t viewed or seen by the technology or a human being and the application uses encryption to protect your information.

Looking at testimonials on their website, SaneBox is said to have saved users about 2 hours every week.  What would it be like to have email under control once and for all?  Better yet, what would it be like to have 2 hours of your precious time back?  Visit the SaneBox website for more information.  If you have employees and you’re looking to free up hours for your employees, consider SaneBox for Business.

©2012 Sheila Hawkins, Third Eye Group.  All Rights Reserved. No portion of this article can be published without the permission of the author.


Flags & Filters

This helps you recognize particular types of email faster by flagging email.  For example, you can flag emails that you have read and are your priority to reply with one color so that they are visually separated for your preference the next time you open your email.

One final thing that you can use to help enhance the use of the sub folders that you set up is to use the email filters in your email account to create “rules” for sending emails to designated folders when they come into your inbox.  This is a nice feature to use to help get email to the appropriate folder.  You might set up particular rules for any email with a particular phrase in the subject line to go to a certain folder.  Let’s say you have a marketing project you’re working on.  Ask that any related emails contain the name of the project in the subject line, then set up the related filter rule so that those emails go into the designated folder.  when it comes time to work on that project, you can go directly to that folder instead of searching through the email in your inbox to find all of the email related to that project.


Tip # 3  is a suggestion that helps you organize email.  Create email sub folders within your email account to sort your emails by category. Label the sub folders with categories that will make it easy for you to distinguish.   For example, use different subjects, projects, client or coworker names  for naming your email sub folders. This makes it easy to choose a category of email to check at a particular time.


To add to my first email tip of not checking email first thing in the morning, have a plan when it comes to checking email.  For most of us checking email once a day isn’t productive.  As I mentioned in my previous post, check email 1.5-2 hours into your day and additionally, choose one to two other times during the day to check and reply to email, and turn off your email notifications.  Set a reminder and stay on schedule.   This will ensure that you’re responding to requests in a timely manner and being productive as well.

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