3 Simple Email Productivity Tips

3 Simple Email Productivity Tips

So, what’s the state of your email inbox?

If you’re like most, you have hundreds if not thousands of unread messages. You’re selective in what you read (which is not necessarily a bad thing), and you might even feel stuck in perpetual email hell, depending on the nature of your work.

It is possible to achieve inbox sanity, though it’s going to require a different way of looking at things. Are you ready to be challenged?

Here I explore three simple email productivity tips to help you recover lost time.

Create Rules for Your Emails

At some point, you will be bombarded with opportunity. How you handle it is going to have a massive impact on your overall productivity.

Thus, the need for rules.

Do you accept guest posts on your blog?

Your answer needs to be a hard “yes” or hard “no,” so you can triage quickly. At the very least, you want to say, “we’ll accept guest submissions when X conditions are met.” And X conditions should be clearly defined, so you know when to say “yes.”

I open every email with the intention of deleting or archiving it. That’s one of my rules (you will find some of my other rules in this article).

Takeaway: set rules for your emails so that you aren’t paralyzed in deciding what to do with each message, whether it’s responding, forwarding, deleting, archiving, or otherwise. When you’re clear on next actions for each email, your productivity will increase.

Set rules for your emails so that you aren’t paralyzed in deciding what to do with each message, whether it’s responding, forwarding, deleting, archiving, or otherwise. Click To Tweet

Utilize Templates

The least efficient way to respond to email of a certain type, especially those where a request is being made, is to write out unique answers individually. This will have an impact on your productivity.

The least efficient way to respond to an email is to write out customized answers one by one. Click To Tweet

Instead, I suggest setting up templates. These templates should be customizable to the extent that you need them to be. But you should never start with a blank page or reinvent the wheel.

Apps like Gmail let you save messages as templates, and even if your provider doesn’t boast such functionality, you can still save your canned responses in plain text files.

Takeaway: whether you’re aware of it or not, you respond to the same kind of email all the time. And most of the time, your response is the same, too (if not, review the last point on creating rules). So, create templates for your most common types of responses and save them for later use.

Delete Last Year’s Emails

I’m probably about to make you a little nervous, though I’m not about to share anything I haven’t shared before.

One of my rules is to clean out last year’s emails. Sure, if there’s something specifically, I want for my memories, safekeeping, documentation, or otherwise, I will save it to the appropriate folder. Same goes for important contacts (don’t forget to save those before deleting your emails!).

But otherwise, your emails are just taking up space (even if just virtual space), and you’re basically never going to get around to responding to or reviewing those messages ever again.

Yep, you dropped some balls. You didn’t get back to some people. Projects fell through the cracks. You should have responded, and you didn’t.

But because of that, you live in a perpetual state of incompletion, and your mental RAM is over capacity. It’s time to complete what has already happened and live in the moment instead of recalling yesterday’s trauma.

Takeaway: Remember – one of my rules is to archive or delete every message, and the goal is to get to inbox zero. So, ideally, by the time a new year has rolled around, I’m already on top of last year’s messages. I do this so I can be complete with last year and focus on this year.

Recommended Resource

If you like the idea of causing more completion in life, and need actionable steps you can take to engage in the present fully, you will benefit from a reading of my Start Your Year the Right Way. There are plenty of great tips, prompts, and journaling exercises to help lead you to clarity.

Start Your Year the Right Way

Final Thoughts

It’s going take some work, and a stronger will to get your inbox sorted. But you can do it.

What did you discover here? What step will you be taking towards inbox sanity today?

See what else I’m up to by checking out my link in bio.

Making Rules for Your Music Career Emails

Making Rules for Your Music Career Emails

Prior to discovering my business coach, James Schramko, I never had much of a structure for managing my email. It could be because I never found it much of a challenge to sort through my emails. Even if they started accumulating, within a day or two, I’d find the time to get through them, and then I’d be back on track.

But these days, opportunities come at me at a furious rate, and in unprecedented volumes. And most weeks, I’m not fully caught up with my email.

Schramko explains that the first thing entrepreneurs should do if they want to set themselves up for success, is to get to inbox zero. I don’t know about you, but that intrigued me, the idea that you should clean up your inbox before worrying about anything else.

There are many reasons for this. One is that we can easily get caught up in consumption. If one person is sending emails, and the other is reading emails, who is the one making an income? The one sending the emails, right?

So often, we feel the need to spy on what others are up to and to gather ideas for our own content. And, while I can’t deny the importance of modeling in coming up with effective content ideas, it often holds true that others are selling while you’re busy reading. And that means you’re not making forward progress.

Another reason to clean up your inbox is so that you can focus on areas of your career or business that matter most. Unless you’re in a situation where you get paid to respond to emails, it’s almost assuredly not the highest use of your time, even if it is important. At minimum, I would encourage to set expectations that you’ll only be answering when it’s convenient for you, not as emails drop in your inbox.

Set expectations that you’ll only be answering when it’s convenient for you, not as emails drop in your inbox. Click To Tweet

Until you’ve made some rules for yourself, though, getting to inbox zero is going to prove an uphill battle.

Here are some rules that have worked for me:

  • Unsubscribe mercilessly. You’re subscribed to too many newsletters. We all are. Cut down on consumption by unsubscribing from more lists. Most inbox solutions let you search for the keyword “unsubscribe,” so you can easily find all the lists you need to get off and do something about it now. There are also apps like Unroll.Me that can help you clean up fast.
  • Delete last year’s emails. You’ve heard me talk about getting complete with things. Well, if you want to start causing more completion, this is one way to do it. Each year, delete all of last year’s emails, regardless of whether you’ve opened them. Trust me – if you haven’t gotten to them already, you probably never will, and the senders have forgotten about you by now. If you’re worried, quickly go through your emails to see if there’s anything important there. Then delete.
  • Delete or archive. Don’t leave emails in your inbox. Go through every email with the intention of either deleting or archiving it (after replying, of course). Don’t leave the door open to any other action. Every email can be deleted or archived (most inbox solutions should have an “archive” function).

Make rules for your emails. It will boost your overall effectiveness.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.