Advertising
Advertising

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 14 Ways to Conquer Your Company’s Overflowing Inbox

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 14 Ways to Conquer Your Company’s Overflowing Inbox


    Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    What’s your number-one tip for keeping email communication manageable in your business?

    1. Keep Customers Separate

      Aggregate all of your customer-related requests into one software system such as ZenDesk or FuseDesk. Keeping all of this information in one place allows the owner to get a bird’s eye view of all requests and answers, as well as keeping a large category of emails out of individual inboxes.

      Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

      2. Just Pick Up the Phone!

      Matt Mickiewicz

        When email conversions and discussions between team members start flying back and forth on the same topic, usually the best thing to do is to switch the medium to phone. It’s infinitely faster than having a lengthy debate over email, which can often evolve into a thread of 20, 30 or 40 messages.

        Matt Mickiewicz, 99designs

        3. Allowing Instant Messages

        Advertising

          No more lengthy emails that never get to the point. Instead, my team makes sure we’re always available via IM so we can have conversations about what’s on our mind and get instant feedback. We’ve found this to be more efficient than letting emails sit in our inbox for hours or days — or get lost forever.

          Danny Wong, Blank Label Group, Inc.

          4. Let Someone In

          Louis Lautman

            You need to figure out what emails that YOU must respond to, versus emails that must be responded to. Who can you delegate other emails to? Create a new email address or have them login to your email to answer some. Also, do these emails even need to come in, or can you create an FAQ on your site?

            Louis Lautman, Young Entrepreneur Society

            5. Spontaneous Video Chats

              Instead of allowing threads of never-ending emails, encourage the use of Skype to chat and call team members whenever needed. Email can get out of hand sometimes so it’s important to resort to direct communication to get things done.

              Ben Lang, EpicLaunch

              6. Now, Not Later

              Advertising

                I have found that when I let my emails pile up, not only does it take me more time to go through them later on, but it also psychologically creates a mental block when I see more than I can handle at one time. And instead of working through them, I just continue to leave them unread and unopened. I highly recommend keeping on top of them at all times, responding and marking down what I need to do.

                Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr

                7. Start Batching

                Lawrence Watkins

                  I learned this trick while reading “The 4-Hour Workweek” a few years ago. Try to only answer emails two to three times per day– for me, it’s 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. This makes me more productive in other parts of the day because I am not being constantly interrupted by incoming messages.

                  Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

                  8. Scrape the Important Stuff

                    Move your actionable items and important data off of email and in it’s own place. Utilize a business class email that will allow you to easily add contacts, create reminders, set appointments, and store documents while also being able to easily share those items with the rest of your team.

                    Jennifer Donogh, Young Female Entrepreneurs

                    9. Labels, Filters, Stars

                    Advertising

                    Arjun Arora

                      If you’re using Gmail, make the most of the various organizational tools at your disposal to help tame your inbox. Filters automatically routes emails and sorts your inbox before you even open it. Labels are a good for grouping together similar messages and making them easy to find later. Stars help make your inbox actionable by highlighting urgent messages and setting priorities.

                      Arjun Arora, ReTargeter

                      10. Throw the Boomerang

                      Michael Margolis

                        Stop using your inbox as a ToDo list and a WaitingOn list. The awesome Gmail plugin called Boomerang allows you to send emails, with reminders for that email to boomerang back after a set period if it goes unanswered. A priceless productivity tool for letting go.

                        Michael Margolis, Get Storied

                        11. Keep Clients at the ‘Camp’

                          We route all client emails via Basecamp, which allows the right person on the team to reply and run with it. It also keeps everything organized per project, so we don’t have to scratch our head wondering where that piece of communication was.

                          Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media

                          12. Minimize the Overload

                          Advertising

                          Derek Shanahan

                            We’re not fans of having long email chains, especially internally — we use intranets, chat rooms (with recorded history) and deliberately short face-to-face meetings to circumvent long email exchanges. But there’s only so much you can do to minimize email with outside parties, so we use customer service forums to avoid repetitive email inquiries.

                            Derek Shanahan, Foodtree

                            13. Don’t Forget to FollowUp.cc

                            Garrett Neiman

                              Without question, Followup.cc is the best way to take control of your inbox. With Followup.cc, you can send messages away to return at a pre-specified time. This has enabled me to send myself reminders, and also remind myself to ping people after an appropriate window of time. Most significantly, it takes all not-so-urgent email out of my inbox so I can focus on what’s most important.

                              Garrett Neiman, CollegeSpring

                              14. Break the Chain!

                              Devesh Dwivedi

                                Email is part of your business culture! Encourage picking up the phone, talking in person, texting and IM-ing. By spending less time writing and sending emails, you will help other people to spend less time reading them, and if everyone uses emails that wisely in your organization, you’ll have less emails and more real communication.

                                Devesh Dwivedi, Breaking The 9 To 5 Jail

                                (Featured photo credit: Overflowing Inbox via Shutterstock)

                                More by this author

                                9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

                                Trending in Work

                                1Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What 2What Highly Successful People Do Every Day To Perform At Their Best 310 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader 4How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position 517 Versatile Work Skills Employers Want to See in Potential Employees

                                Read Next

                                Advertising
                                Advertising

                                Last Updated on August 20, 2018

                                Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What

                                Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What

                                Do you know that feeling? The one where you have to wake up to go to your boring 9-5 job to work with the same boring colleagues who don’t appreciate what you do.

                                I do, and that’s why I’ve decided to quit my job and follow my passion. This, however, requires a solid plan and some guts.

                                The one who perseveres doesn’t always win. Sometimes life has more to offer when you quit your current job. Yes, I know. It’s overwhelming and scary.

                                People who quit are often seen as ‘losers’. They say: “You should finish what you’ve started”.

                                I know like no other that quitting your job can be very stressful. A dozen questions come up when you’re thinking about quitting your job, most starting with: What if?

                                Advertising

                                “What if I don’t find a job I love and regret quitting my current job?”
                                “What if I can’t find another job and I get in debt because I can’t pay my bills?”
                                “What if my family and friends judge me and disapprove of the decisions I make?”
                                “What if I quit my job to pursue my dream, but I fail?

                                After all, if you admit to the truth of your surroundings, you’re forced to acknowledge that you’ve made a wrong decision by choosing your current job. But don’t forget that quitting certain things in life can be the path to your success!

                                One of my favorite quotes by Henry Ford:

                                If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

                                Everything takes energy

                                Everything you do in life takes energy. It takes energy to participate in your weekly activities. It takes energy to commute to work every day. It takes energy to organize your sister’s big wedding.

                                Advertising

                                Each of the responsibilities we have take a little bit of our energy. We only have a certain amount of energy a day, so we have to spend it wisely.  Same goes for our time. The only things we can’t buy in this world are time and energy. Yes, you could buy an energy drink, but will it feel the same as eight hours of sleep? Will it be as healthy?

                                The more stress there is in your life, the less focus you have. This will weaken your results.

                                Find something that is worth doing

                                Do you have to quit every time the going gets touch? Absolutely not! You should quit when you’ve put everything you’ve got into something, but don’t see a bright future in it.

                                When you do something you love and that has purpose in your life, you should push through and give everything you have.

                                I find star athletes very inspiring. They don’t quit till they step on that stage to receive their hard earned gold medal. From the start, they know how much work its going to take and what they have to sacrifice.

                                Advertising

                                When you do something you’re really passionate about, you’re not in a downward spiral. Before you even start you can already see the finish line. The more focus you have for something, the faster you’ll reach the finish.

                                It is definitely possible to spend your valuable time on something you love and earn money doing it. You just have to find out how — by doing enough research.

                                Other excuses I often hear are:

                                “But I have my wife and kids, who is going to pay the bills?”
                                “I don’t have time for that, I’m too busy with… stuff” (Like watching TV for 2 hours every day.)
                                “At least I get the same paycheck every month if I work for a boss.”
                                “Quitting my job is too much risk with this crisis.”

                                I understand those points. But if you’ve never tried it, you’ll never know how it could be. The fear of failure keeps people from stepping out of their comfort zone.

                                Advertising

                                I’ve heard many people say, “I work to let my children make their dream come true”. I think they should rephrase that sentence to: “I pursue my dreams — to inspire and show my children anything is possible.” 

                                Conclusion

                                Think carefully about what you spend your time on. Don’t waste it on things that don’t brighten your future. Instead, search for opportunities. And come up with a solid plan before you take any impulsive actions.

                                Only good things happen outside of your comfort zone.

                                Do you dare to quit your job for more success in life?

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                Read Next