Tame Your Email Inbox

On June 30th, 2015, posted in: Accounting, Productivity by 0 Comment

This is a challenge for everyone! Email is both a blessing and a curse for business owners, don’t you agree? It’s a blessing in the fact that you can dash off a quick message regardless of the time. You can also conduct a lot of your business through email if necessary and sometimes it does save you time. The “curse” part of email is that it seems to be never-ending and that anyone can and does dash a quick message off to you regardless of the time!

In my virtual accounting business we communicate via email with the team and with our clients. We also have a process in place so we don’t get Picture5so bogged down in email that we spend all of our time doing that! Here is how we tame our email inboxes:

  • Have specific times throughout the day when you review and answer your email. Turn off notifications so you can concentrate on the task you’re currently involved in. Don’t let yourself get distracted by incoming messages while you’re working on something else.
  • If you’ve responded to an email, delete the incoming email. If there are several back-and-forth emails and you need it for future reference, only keep the last message.
  • If you’re going to need an email in the future, file it. Our accounting associates have a file for each client they work with. Putting all their emails in their file makes it much easier to find when you need it.
  • Make sure the subject line matches the content so when you look for it again you can find it. We use client codes at the beginning of the subject line and then a description of the topic of the email. For example, TAO 06.30.15 Payroll Journal Entry (or JE for short).
  • If you don’t need an email, delete it. Duh! That was easy!!
  • Only “handle” an email once. If you’re reading it, then respond to it. If you can’t respond right then, flag it and set a reminder to respond to it later. Don’t file emails until you have responded to them. Keep them where you will see them.
  • Make certain your team knows who needs to be on “reply all” messages and who doesn’t need to be in the loop. If a group message is sent out and the sender is the only one requiring an answer, then respond to him or her – not the group. (This is my personal pet peeve!)

What do you love and/or despise about email correspondence?


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