Rules to Manage Email (from an email marketer)

Preface: This piece was written on a whim. Keep in mind function over form.

The total number of global email accounts are set to hit 4.9 billion by the end of 2017. It’s the go to method of communication for the “important” things in life, beyond the office, and now serves as the way which we communicate with our doctors, food delivery, financial institutions, and so forth.

A serious problem the modern human faces is that email is overwhelming. With over 100 billion emails sent per day and an expected increase to 132 billion by 2017 as estimated in the same report by the Radicati group, we are looking at rougly 17.8 emails sent per person per day.

This is a HUGE problem for me as it diverts my attention from what is important to managing the excess of mail coming into my inbox. Here are the 3 ways I manage my email.

  1. Unsubscribe: Just do it. From our account signups to random apps and newsletters we signed up for on a whim, if you don’t NEED it or haven’t budgeted time for it, just unsubscribe from it. This is key because it’s a top of the funnel lever to pull.
  2. Delete and archive: If it’s not important and you don’t need it (but it’s not an unsubscribe) just delete it. If there’s importance for it in the future but doesn’t require an immediate action (think an interesting topic you are going to be interested in a few months) just archive it.
  3. Respond or to-do/calendar: I don’t believe there is a cookie cutter method for when you should respond to email. Some set aside an hour per day, others do it on the go, some have assistants, and so forth. That doesn’t matter. What matters is you have a system. After steps 1 and 2, you need to start focusing on things at the bottom of the funnel. For me, I do one of two things. I either respond right away with an answer, or put a to-do on my list and/or book time on my calendar to do whatever is required for it.

On a final note, one thing you need to be willing to do is say NO! Can you be part of this event, or give to this, or etc, etc. If this doesn’t align with your goals, just say no. Following these steps should get you to inbox zero, some mental clarity, and out of the rat race in keeping up with email.

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