The dreaded inbox - it can be a nightmare to keep under control. We'll take you through our best tips for getting it sorted and keeping it that way.
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Connect on LinkedIn ► Joy Hewitt
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- Welcome to Savvy Sessions number eight with Joy and Jo. This is how to get control of your inbox. This is one of the dreaded parts of running a business how to actually manage the inbox.
- We regularly get clients that come to us and their inboxes are out of control. They might have thousands of emails in there, and it's all about trying to manage that so you don't get that backlog of emails that you haven't replied to or the subscription emails that are sitting there from three months ago, you haven't even look at. Jo is amazing at sorting out inboxes. It just needs probably some of her...
- Top tips.
- Top tips, yeah. So it's all about 1. clearing out the back log and getting it to a more manageable state and then the next part is how to create a system that can manage the inbox. And when I say the system manages the inbox, it's still up to you and takes dedication and commitment to keep using that system you've created to actually keep it under control. So this not just a magic tool that's going to manage your inbox for you, you still have to be doing something each day and sticking to it.
So the first step is to actually get it to a manageable state and the way that we recommend doing that is to do a few things. So 1. is to have a scan through and see what rules and filters that you can set up that will do some of the things that you would do with those emails. So I literally just come out of a client session where we went through an inbox, it had 3,000 emails. And they had lots of invoices that came in, some of them were lots of invoices that came in through the month and at the end of the month they get their proper monthly invoice. So what they needed to do was to actually review all of the emails of the invoices as they came in. And so what we did is we set up a filter where those emails wouldn't even hit the inbox they would just automatically go into a folder which was 'invoices to review' and it's one of the very few folders that we set up. So she's got an 'inbox', the 'archive' and the 'invoices to review' and then she's got a 'personal' one and that's it. So we set up a filter that automatically put those into the folder.
She uses Xero, so we grabbed some of the emails that came through regularly like 2degrees and stuff like that where you're getting a monthly invoice and we set up a rule that auto forwarded that to their 'bills' email address in Xero. And so that automatically goes there with the attachment and they can edit the draught invoices on a monthly basis or however they want to manage that. And then the second part of that rule is to file it away in to 'archive' and just archive it. So then we went through and we had a look at anything else we can set up a rule for. So once we'd done that we then looked at some of the subscription emails that she was getting, like you say. So some of the things you don't even want or need or never look at, we just unsubscribed her from those things. We had a look at Zapier to see if we could do some of the fancy things. So Zapier is a really awesome tool to do things that you can't normally do inside your email account. And then we just drew a line in the sand and said okay we're going to archive anything that was before last month so now it's the middle of April, so now we're going to take anything that was pre-March was all going to be archived. And the way I explained that to her was that if it's on the second, third, fourth page of your inbox like in Gmail or if it's down like scroll, scroll, scroll down the bottom, it's no different having the emails sitting there than it is to just have it in the 'archive' folder. Most email platforms they have an archive button so it's nice and easy to select them all, we did a bulk select based on the date and a search and we bulk archived all those emails. And now she's down to, still quite a few emails but they're getting a lot of emails each day.
So now she's going go through and now that it's more manageable she's going to see if there are any more rules that she can set up and clear out all of those emails and anything that's dealt with she's just going to push the archive button. So we're not going to delete necessarily, it's just all about as she, the system now is that, as the emails come in she's going to deal with them and click the archive button. It will be in her 'all mail' folder or the 'archive' folder and some of those filters are going to continue to work and so she's going to go in and have a look at the 'invoices to review' and then she's just going to keep that up on a daily basis so that now she will get on top of those. She's going to have a clear out of the remaining and move forward with a nice clear inbox and do a little bit each day.
- I did something a wee while ago, well one of our team did, with a client. It turned out he had thousands of emails but turned out he was getting copies of emails, it was a craft brewery, so he was getting copies of orders that he never dealt with. And we went through it and we actually said do you ever look at those, nope. Or a copy of the dispatch confirmations. You can actually look through it and figure out what, not only subscription emails you may not want, but also what do you really need to be copied in on. If it's just a CC you may not even need that at all you can go to however sent it and have a chat with them.
- Yeah, remove the auto-send-a-copy, right. And you might've set that up in the beginning, thinking it was a great idea and you might have wanted to see all of those but now you don't need to.
- And archiving is a good way to get rid of everything but you're not deleting it and some people like having folders but the reality these days with the search function, is you can archive everything and you can just jump in the search and put in a keyword and find it. And it saves you having to worry about trying to find what folder it's in. Putting it in the wrong folder by accident.
- Absolutely get rid of your folder structure it's the worst idea ever and ten years ago we needed to have a folder structure because the search wasn't great. Now that the search function is amazing, you don't actually have to have all those folders anymore. By having folders, you're just delaying your decision on what to do with each email and making it too hard. So yeah, just remove the folders and archive.
- So happy 'getting your inbox under control' and setting up an amazing system and having a lot less stress in your life. So that is Savvy Sessions number eight with Joy and Jo.
- See you next time.
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