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.

How Frameworks Will Skyrocket Your Productivity in Music

How Frameworks Will Skyrocket Your Productivity in Music

I have frameworks for a variety of things, especially the work I engage in daily.

I have Photoshop templates for website graphics.

I have a marketing checklist for my podcast.

I have a step-by-step process for the blog articles I write.

These frameworks take the guesswork out of the steps involved at each stage. They allow for increased consistency, efficiency, accuracy, predictability, and productivity in everything I produce.

It might seem like frameworks would prove antithetical and even restrictive to the creative process, but I have found the opposite to be true.

If I’m trying to come up with an article idea, I’d much rather draw from a well of ideas already generated than go back to the drawing board every time. That’s just reinventing the wheel, and I’m not smart enough to figure that out.

More to the point:

In a world with unlimited options, we’re often stymied by decision paralysis.

In a world with unlimited options, we’re often stymied by decision paralysis. Click To Tweet

What if I said to you: “Write a song about anything and have it done by tomorrow?”

Sure, you’d eventually formulate an idea and start putting the pieces of the song together. But you’d probably need to spend a lot of time at the brainstorming stage before even putting the first lyric down on paper.

Meanwhile, if I asked you to write a song about eating cotton candy at the amusement park on a sunny Saturday, that would be a completely different kind of prompt, wouldn’t it? With the subject matter determined, the only thing to do would be to write lyrical and musical content that fits the subject matter.

There are things you do on a recurring basis – setting up new releases on digital distribution sites, updating your website, writing social media posts… Can you see that each of these activities need to be done on a recurring basis and would benefit from frameworks?

Even if you choose not to put any limitations on your creativity (I’m not here to tell you what to do), there are a myriad of other things you do where templates, checklists, and processes would make a big difference.

These days, I even have templates for the books I write. It eliminates the need to create the same sections all over again – title, copyright information, dedication, table of contents, introduction, etc.

I understand that creating systems takes take away from things you’d rather be doing. But I’d encourage you to do something in service of your future self. Set up your systems now so you can be more effective in the time that follows.

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.

Are You Building Structures for Your Future Music Career Success?

Are You Building Structures for Your Future Music Career Success?

First times can be kind of weird and awkward, right? Sometimes even scary. Whether it’s your first kiss, first mango, first time skydiving…

You’re going to have a lot of firsts as an artist. And if you’re reading this, you’ve probably gone through a few already.

First time at the studio. First release. First gig. First interview. And so on.

And it’s easy to put a lot of pressure on those situations. Like you must get it right even though you’ve never done it before.

But what works is Kaizen, which is a Japanese term meaning “taking something that didn’t work, improving on it, and making it better.”

See, even if you’ve done all your research and homework, you’re still going to make mistakes. Or take on too much. Or underestimate how much work it’s going to be.

There were mistakes with my first album, Shipwrecked… My Sentiments, such as the fact that the website address printed in the liner notes was the wrong one (because we’d assumed we’d be able to get that domain name even though we hadn’t checked!).

Now, if you go to the Shipwrecked… page on my website, you’re going to see a example of a template. I call it the “music super page.” It contains everything to do with the release, including track list, description, liner notes, lyrics, videos, reviews, and even influences. It’s a template, and it might not be perfect, but we can keep improving on it.

A lot of people just fly by the seat of their pants and make things up as they go. And unless all the stars align, that approach just doesn’t work. Not to mention, it negatively affects your productivity trying to reinvent the wheel every single time.

You should think of your “firsts” as an experiment. No judgment, no criticism. You’re doing something new and different, and you’re not sure what the results are going to be. So, no need to be down on yourself when things don’t go down how you think they will. You’re blazing a trail.

You should think of your “firsts” as an experiment. Click To Tweet

From there, you can start building your templates and swipe files.

I have templates for all my books. It just makes it so much easier to get started on my next book or update an older book when I can jump into a pre-built template, add my content, and change or improve elements as need be. Kaizen.

You could also call these systems, though it’s a boring term comparatively.

As with previous insights, this has a lot to do with accurate thinking, identifying what works, and repeating what works. So, don’t start from scratch. That’s a rule. Once you’ve done your firsts, take them and improve upon them. That will help you create more momentum in your work.

Don’t start from scratch. That’s a rule. Click To Tweet

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.