A Productivity Tip for Small Business Owners.

6 Tips for Managing Your Email.

Email is the worst. It’s messy. It’s confusing. It gets really out of hand quickly. Are you one of those people with 13,397 unread emails in your inbox? The idea of using email as a to-do list is silly. The best way to shoot your productivity in the foot is “working out of your email.”

You wouldn’t believe how many people I know that spend 2+ hours in their email throughout the work day. It’s a businessman’s Facebook. It’s addicting. It’s time to take control of your email.

I do my best to limit distractions in my workday. There is plenty to accomplish. Why should I waste time mucking around in my inbox? Here’s what I do:

1. Create tasks and prioritize.

I use Asana for all my project management at Skymouse. When I get a new email involving a task, I create a task in Asana, copy and transfer any important information, and archive that email. Asana has a feature that allows you to forward emails to an Asana email address and a task is created auto-magically. It’s wonderful.

Animation of using Asana and Email

If you don’t use Asana, just use a simple to-do list app or a CRM (if your company has one). Hubspot offers a free CRM that works great. If the email has information that I want to keep, I add it to my Evernote.

Your email is not a notebook. Stop treating it like one.

2. Schedule for later.

I use an app called Spark as my email client. It’s great for scheduling emails. This way I can send emails throughout the day without having to stop my current project.

Animation of scheduling email for later

There are also plugins for Gmail that help you schedule emails for later.

3. Archive everything.

I keep my inbox empty. You heard correct. If I need to find an old email, I search the archives: Indiana Jones style. By sorting and archiving all my emails, I don’t lose track of important tasks.

Animation of archiving anything

When I archive something, I know that I can track its progress on my to-do list (Asana).

4. Schedule your time to look at email.

I check my email as infrequently as possible. If I must do it, I do it at a designated time: once an hour. I get into my email, respond immediately –if I have to–, send any tasks to Asana, and archive the rest. Boom. The Cool Catz call it “Inbox Zero.”

5. Unsubscribe from things you don’t need.

I can’t believe that I still get emails that I don’t care about. I now unsubscribe from emails that I don’t read. Now, I don’t have to delete them every week.

Animation of unsubscribing from email

If I want to read that blog post later, I add it to my Pocket app. Pocket helps me postpone all the reading that I want to get around to in one place.

6. Put alerts somewhere else.

I’ve set my alerts to show up in Slack. New leads from the Skymouse website or new subscribers in Mailchimp now show up in Slack instead of my email. This can also be done with Microsoft Teams and similar apps.

Your life will be better once you get a handle on your email. It takes time to get in a new routine, but it is worth it.

You will spend less time wandering through your inbox. You will have a better grasp on the tasks that need your attention. You might even have time to get home at 4 p.m. and relax by the pool for a bit.

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Photo of Patrick Hanus

Patrick Hanus

Hi, I'm the other co-founder of Skymouse Studios. I enjoy making people laugh. I'm a huge fan of design and illustration. If it's late at night, I'm probably sleeping or writing a TV show.

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