How to Effectively Handle Emails

Sometimes I think the sound of emails coming will drive me to total insanity. I get this feeling of urgency, and as if I don’t respond within the hour, I may hurt my business. But research shows that just isn’t true.

Here are some pointers to help:

Is a response needed? 

Before you reply, think: is your response only to say “thanks”? Some emails don’t require replies; unnecessary emails encourage inbox clutter.

“Emails are like rabbits, they reproduce at an exorbitant rate. The more you send, the more you get.” -Simon Sinek {Author of “Start With Why”}

Yup. Agreed 100%.

Put answering emails on your to-do list. Set aside 45 minutes or so to respond to emails. Take a short break. Then move along to other tasks. I answer emails first thing in the morning. It seems each night, my inbox collects letters from around the world and other time zones, so I knock those out first. I then schedule time intermittently throughout the day.

Prioritize replies. Respond to the most pressing first. I often feel I need to respond in the order in which they are received, but I’d say that’s more applicable when calling a help line!

Save articles + videos for later. When you are in your inbox, you should only be doing one thing: answering emails. I know that video of the baby laughing looks funny! But save these bad boys for when you have free time to spare.

24-hour turnaround is optimal. Replying within 24 hours is perfectly responsive enough. Don’t feel you have to respond within moments of receipt. It is true- sometimes issues WILL be resolved without you. Also, give others the same courtesy. I can’t say enough how rude it is to email and then within 24-48 hours, email again to make sure it was received. Don’t be that person.

Use standard responses. Sometimes a standard response is a good thing. You may have a few copy-and-paste type responses, or use something called a text expander. In anyway you choose to do it, if you feel you are writing the same thing one too many times, create a template.

Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe! Each and every time I receive a bulk email I care little about, I hit “unsubscribe”. Thankfully, almost all bulk emails include this helpful little link at the end. It only takes a few seconds, and will dramatically reduce your inbox clutter over time. Instead of signing up for email newsletters, I choose to follow on Twitter or like on Facebook to keep up with businesses I’m interested in.

When possible, close down your email and focus elsewhere! Truthfully, closing your email can help reduce the urgency feel to read and respond to others that come in after then.

Original and awesome information source that spurred my article: A truly great read.

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