Our day can be consumed by email. If you have your notifications on, you are often interrupted by a new, incoming message. If you are like me, you have the notifications turned off which leads you to be afraid of the state of your inbox. It builds and builds in your head to where you just dread it more and more.
- Take internal communication out of email
- Consider other ways to organize external communication, e.g. forms, Slack, etc.
Not only did that reduce the amount of emails coming in and going out, but it also centralized where that information was being stored. This made it very easy for someone else to step in and process payments.
Think through who is typically corresponding with you via email and how you may be able to streamline those conversations.
- Turn off your notifications! Set aside time to look at your inbox.
In order to get more done, you must have less interruptions. So turn off those notifications! Afraid you will miss something important and urgent? Reconsider what is actually important, how important it is, and other ways for important and urgent information to get to you.
For truly urgent requests, practices already exist, such as being on call and having an answering service (think doctors, plumbers, etc). If your requests are truly urgent, can they get a hold of you outside of email? Do they know how?
Reconsider what is actually important and urgent. Then set aside time for your inbox rather than let it control you.
- Have someone else take care of it
Or you can use a task management system where emails that require your response or action are turned into tasks for you to complete.
This option may seem extreme for small business owners, but it can be quite effective for those who want to work in one program rather than switch between email and their tasking system. It is also quite effective for those with a generic company inbox. The person monitoring that inbox can then assign emails to be completed by the right person. For small businesses where the owner’s inbox is essentially the generic company inbox, having someone else be responsible for monitoring, organizing, and tasking can free up a lot of energy to focus on the business.
Avoiding your inbox or being controlled by it are two extremes that have a huge impact on your day as a business owner. Once you are free from your inbox, you can focus on the things that really matter: having a business that is fulfilling for you, your team, and your family.