7 Ways to get Your Inbox Under Control and Regain Your Entrepreneurial Sanity!

by Chris C. Ducker · 44 comments

Get Your Email Inbox Under ControlEmail is probably the biggest time-sucker for every and any entrepreneur working hard to create, build and run a business in today’s economy.

I’ve struggled with it myself in the past, but I’m happy to say I now have it very much under control – and it was all because of a handful of steps I incorporated into my daily work life.

A couple of days ago my buddy, Leslie Samuel published a post outlining changes that he was making in order to better manage his time and especially communication with followers and customers. This prompted me to shoot this video, which I hope will help bring some calm to the entrepreneurial storm, known simply as ‘Inbox Hell’.

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I’d love for you to grab these tips by watching the video (there’s a couple of fun outtakes at the end!), but you’ll also find them in a short written fashion below, too!

Tip #1 – Start with the ‘One Click’ Rule

It doesn’t get any easier than this. When you open your email simply click ONCE, on either of the following buttons:

  • Reply
  • Delete
  • Archive

If you open an email message, then close it and go to another and then go back to it again later, you’re wasting a ridiculous amount of time. Get strict with yourself, and this tip along with save you probably hours every day!

Tip #2 – Engage the 3 Sentence Rule

For the last couple of years I’ve been replying to pretty much ALL of my email messages with no more than three sentences. Seriously. Even important business emails – if I need to elaborate on anything, I pick up the phone (you do remember that piece of equipment for use in business, right…?!!).

This works perfectly for me, as I’m more of a talker than a typer, anyway.

Tip #3 – Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists

If you’re enjoying online content then the chances are you’ve subscribed to a few mailing lists. Thats cool. But, now ask yourself if you’re still getting from them what you expected when you signed up. If the answer is not a resounding ‘Hell, yes!’, then hit the unsubscribe link at the bottom (or top) of the next email that arrives.

Tip #4 – Eliminate Yourself from ‘Internal’ Email Threads

This may or may not (if you’re a solopreneur) apply to you. But, if you’re running any sized team, the chances are that you’re being copied into emails that you really don’t need to be receiving in.

Are you a micro-manager? If thats the case, then this simple tip might not make much of a difference, but, if you’re just trying to stay busy for the sake of it, get yourself removed from the threads. The spare that it’ll create will be like ‘gold’ to you immediately.

Tip #5 – Start Using a Project Management System

Using something like Huddle, or Basecamp to work with people on a day to day basis, whether they are within your company structure, or not, enables you to cut your Inbox load down even further – this one is a potential game-changer, depending on how much ‘back and forth’ you do via email throughout the course of a normal working day.

Tip #6 – Don’t Use Your Inbox as a To-Do List

A lot of people I know make this mistake. And I mean a LOT! This is mad.

Just the simple action of leaving an email in your inbox, regardless of what color you flag it, or what nice label you give it, goes against you and your productivity levels. Get your ‘To-Do’ items out of your Inbox and put them somewhere else, instead, such as:

  • A notepad
  • An iPad
  • A Smartphone
  • Post-It Notes
  • Index cards
  • Excel Sheets
  • Whatever!

Tip #7 – Get Your Email into the Cloud – NOW!

If you’re not experiencing email in the cloud already then you simply don’t know what you’re missing!

Just imagine, no matter where you are, no matter what device you’re using, you can get directly into your inbox, sent items, archive – everything. Gmail, for example, allows you to use their platform with your own domain name, so you can send and receive email just as easily as you would with Mail, or Outlook (for PC fans), but with the added mobility factor of being able to access and ‘get busy’ with your email – anywhere.

This for me was one of the biggest game-changers ever, in my mission to take myself out of my office full-time. The freedom factor it produced was amazing. Really.

Got any of your own email productivity tips? Links to other articles that you think would help us all? Just want to poke fun at me for my video outtakes? That’s cool… Please comment below – I love hearing from you!

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