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How I Freed Myself from Mountains of Email Part 2

by Celine on March 6th, 2008

This is part 2 of “How I Freed Myself from Mountains of Email“.

After killing off spam and miscellaneous notifications, I did a few more things that are helping me get less email everyday.

Modified Email Rules and Alerts. Incoming mail is now organized based on criteria I set such as the sender (is it a client? relative? affiliate network?) and these criteria help me file email in the proper folders and deal with them there. If, at any given time, I just want to focus on one thing (replying to relatives, greeting clients, or invoicing), I just go to the right folder and find myself dealing with only relevant information.

Killed off an email address. One of my email addresses is too long, informal, and was created when I was in highschool. The only email I get there is either spam or personal messages from highschool friends and some family. I sent a generic email to everyone saying that I will no longer be using that address, and pointed them off to my more commonly used address. I also set up an autoresponder to say the same thing. Now, I check one less email address each day.

Hired a virtual assistant. This new assistant deals with my freelance work emails and customer service. Again, one less email address to check each day. Plus, my clients are probably much happier since someone is always replying to them and dealing with their concerns - something I didn’t get to do when I’m busy. Plus, replying to client emails took so much time that I focused less on the actual work. Now, my VA just sends me a daily summary on incoming emails and how she responded to each. This also helps me learn how to delegate - something that I am usually so afraid to do.

Created a fresh, new, super private email address. When I’ve worked out all the kinks in my system (within this month), this will be the ONLY email address I’ll check. Only very close friends, family, and my VA (the daily reports) can send me emails through this address. Why? Because these are the only people I want to hear from personally, and the only people I want to reply to personally.

My system isn’t perfect, but it’s a big step to better email efficiency. I used to spend at least 3 hours on email tasks alone, and now they don’t even take an hour to complete. Plus, my stress levels have gone down dramatically. That, to me, is the most important result.

How much time do you spend on email daily? How many emails do you receive on an average day? How many of those emails are spam? If anyone has any email efficiency tips or stories to share, please share them with us in the comments.

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POSTED IN: E-mail, Email, GMail, General work pimps, Software tips

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