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  • Email management tips

    I'm thinking about doing a post on this, but I think I've probably got to get better at it myself before I can preach it to anyone else.

    I am checking my WCI email for the first time in 24 hours after waking up after a late shift. There are 68 messages waiting for me. I was able to delete 34 of them without opening them in just a couple of minutes.

    • I forwarded to my staff to take care of 1

    • Suckered into opening 4

    • Needed to read but not do anything 5

    • Do something about 6

    • Respond 16


    While responding to those 16 and completing those 6 tasks, I received 11 more emails.

    • I was able to delete 7 of those without opening.

    • One required a response and one required me to do an additional task.


    Doing this required about two hours of time. Multiply that by 7 days, and that's 14 hours (although I don't get as many emails on weekends). No wonder I'm swamped when I come back from a 5 day trip and feel like it is impossible to go on a 10 day trip.

    Any tips other than hiring someone to sort through my emails (which I think wouldn't save much time at all) or stop responding to readers (which I enjoy and think is important to our main mission)? I'd like to get WCI to the point where I spend < 15 hours a week on it, but I can't spend 14 hours doing emails and still write blog posts, do podcasts, spend time on forums, write books, make videos etc and be anywhere near that number.

    Surely I'm not the only one out there with an email problem (and this doesn't include personal email). Any tips?
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

  • #2
    I empathize with you there.  I own a pathology group and probably get 100+ emails a day (now mostly I am cc'd on them and don't require much of my involvement).  Over the last decade the main thing that has helped is increasing that category of "forwarded to staff" but that has taken a lot of fostering of a situation where I can do that (good managers, assistants, etc).  I also set fairly severe "away messages" when I am on vacation/out sick/unavailable so its clear they will need to contact someone else for help (the more you do this, the more self reliant it makes your people).  I'd also mention that there is this "boss effect" where once someone has dealt with the person "in charge", they never want to work with other people they view as lower on the totem pole.  I have some clients that I am in year 3 of asking them to contact the main office for regular things and not me personally.  So that also takes time and is a process for sure. Best of luck with this!

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    • #3
      I think you're great about responding. I am def not! But part of that is because gmail is blocked for me at work so can only see on my phone and sometimes I just plain forget after reading it quickly on my phone and not having time to deal with the email at that time.

       

      I've thought about this myself - I don't get as many email as you, but I am trying to set aside time to do this task specifically at specific intervals/

      You probably get a lot of - pls help me/what should I do emails. At some point, you may need to refer these folks to post on the forum - isn't that what this is for?

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      • #4




        I think you’re great about responding. I am def not! But part of that is because gmail is blocked for me at work so can only see on my phone and sometimes I just plain forget after reading it quickly on my phone and not having time to deal with the email at that time.

         

        I’ve thought about this myself – I don’t get as many email as you, but I am trying to set aside time to do this task specifically at specific intervals/

        You probably get a lot of – pls help me/what should I do emails. At some point, you may need to refer these folks to post on the forum – isn’t that what this is for? ????
        Click to expand...


        Oh the autoreply I put up a year or so ago definitely helped and I do refer people looking for help to the forum. And people wanting speaking gigs, guest posts, book orders, advertising etc to my staff member doing that. That was a great move. But any other tips are most welcome.
        Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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        • #5
          Can you give your staff member access to the account so they can pull out the things they need to take care of and delete things for you? Seems like that would cut down on the initial filtering you're having to do

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          • #6
            stop sending emails offering free stuff.  that will cut down on emails.



             

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            • #7
              Ratio isn't that bad for general account.

              Keyword filtering helps -- i presume 34/68 have some common keyword to spam them

              4 suckered --- how? those are the tricky ones to get filtered out

              The rest:  27/68 probably couldn't have been managed any better if you had a person handling them aside putting into priority buckets for you to manage through during the day.

               

              --With EPIC -- Mychart/CC chart/Staff Messages -- usage has exploded.  'InBox' management takes 20% of time these days, but it is how we communicate mostly -- phone calls and doorbells are so 20th century i suppose.

               

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              • #8
                I can't help with this problem! I have 9598 unread emails currently.  That is down from 17000.  I am bad to not delete emails.

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                • #9




                  I can’t help with this problem! I have 9598 unread emails currently.  That is down from 17000.  I am bad to not delete emails.
                  Click to expand...


                  We can all PM you if you want to buff your numbers a bit.... 

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                  • #10
                    What were the 34? Spam? Lots of spam will have unsubscribe links at the very bottom of their emails. I always try to find those if I have no interest in a company. But it sounds like the bulk of your time is spent responding or doing something actionable, so hard to save time there. There's value in making responses succinct if you don't already. I.e. I sometimes treat emails like text messages. If someone asks me a yes or no question, I respond with a single word email.

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                    • #11




                      Can you give your staff member access to the account so they can pull out the things they need to take care of and delete things for you? Seems like that would cut down on the initial filtering you’re having to do
                      Click to expand...


                      Yea, but that part seems like such a tiny percentage of it. The time consuming part is definitely the replying and doing the tasks associated with the email.
                      Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

                      Comment


                      • #12




                        stop sending emails offering free stuff.  that will cut down on emails.

                        ????

                         
                        Click to expand...


                        For sure. That's one issue with sending emails to 13000 people.
                        Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                        • #13
                          1. (re)consider delegating more (of the "tiny part" of it to others. You are growing a business - start doing less of the work. Delegate responsibility, work, etc. Hire.

                          2. I keep a document of common responses/link/bookmarks/snippets which I can quickly copy and paste to help reply more quickly.

                          3. If you want "replying to emails" to be a pillar of the empire, someone has to spend the time. Is it really you? Emails take time. Keep them short.

                          4. I can't see getting WCI to <15h/week. You have to manage the company, and then deal with all the pillars? That leaves what - 10 hours to build 20 (didn't you have 20+ pillars you mentioned in an early podcast?) different creative enterprises? Time to have reasonable effort and time estimates. WCI is past the point it's a one man enterprise. Growth and scope need some honest consideration, imho.

                          5. don't check the first thing in the morning. Block specific time for checking/replying. Use the archive function. Don't let emails linger - just knock them out and be done.

                          6. empty the inbox. Don't have 30k or whatever you mentioned in the podcast. Move them to an archive folder, or "old" or something. Keep the inbox clean, like a desk - you'll mentally feel better.


                          or stop responding to readers (which I enjoy and think is important to our main mission)?
                          Click to expand...


                          7. That's a noble mission. This sounds like a significant % of the emails. How much needs to be email? How much do you need to do? How much can you quickly copy/paste and reply quickly? Determine how many "reader response" emails a week you get to get a better sense of how many you have been  / are getting. Is replying to those required? Is that the best use of (your) time to grow WCI? Is email the best means for communicating such information? Cost/benefit of such replies is something to consider.

                          8. Use a real desk, chair, keyboard, mouse. Proper posture can save big %'s of time. Use 2 monitors. Email on 1, subject matter on the other. (lousy data on this, some studies suggest 20-40% gain in efficiency (usually funded by monitor companies, so ...) Still, it helps.

                          9. Consider why are you typing each reply. Are you really passing along information? Are you helping people feel heard? Are you helping people feel as though they heard from you? Are you helping drive business to other pillars? Are you reaching a segment who don't interact w/ the existing pillars? Assess if you need to provide as much detail/background/education/etc. Can the recipient get by with less information?




                           The time consuming part is definitely the replying and doing the tasks associated with the email.
                          Click to expand...


                          10. Do you have to do said tasks? Can you just do all email on weekends? Or do said tasks need to be done ASAP or on bankers hours?

                          11. How on earth did 34 useless emails make it to your inbox? What are these? Unsubscribe, set filters, or find a better communication platform (e.g. are huge work email threads really the most effective way to communicate said topic? I'd suggest you pick a category of emails, and see if you can spend 50% less time on said category in the next week. Analyze how many, where the time goes, who should best do said work, etc etc. See how it goes.

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                          • #14
                            12. Hire @adventure to be your personal assistant.
                            Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                            • #15
                              WCI would not be as valuable or good or grow if you work <15 hours per week on it.

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