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March 28, 2011

Mastering Your Email and Inbox

As a small business owner you’re probably doing a ton of things yourself in your business – some you need to do but some also that maybe you shouldn’t be doing, right? In talking with hundreds of entrepreneurs every month I find that the majority of them (you/us) struggle with our email inboxes…they’re overflowing right?

You’re either:

1. Overwhelmed with email and your inbox

2. Feeling like you’re tied to it or it follows you around (on your smart phone)

3. Confused on how to organize it better – the flow, the emails you need, the spam, etc.

4. Ignoring it all together

5. Wondering how you can ever take a vacation (or a couple days off) and NOT check in

6. Or you’ve got it down and thoroughly organized like a well-oiled machine

Well, if you’re NOT in the situation of the very last point then you may be interested to know a few things you can do to better manage your emails and inbox. After all, you’re wasting hours a month deleting and sorting through emails you don’t even need to show up in the first place.

The following are 4 tips I suggest to better manage your emails:

1. Sort and organize your emails – Use the rules option in your mailbox feature to send specific emails into their own folders in your inbox to start.

  • I send all the emails from my team (various VAs) to one folder so I can hammer out responses all at one time every hour or couple hours or so as it fits my time schedule.
  • I send all my email newsletters (the ones I do want to keep) to a newsletter folder in my inbox to read when I have time. Guess what? Rarely do I ever have time nor do I miss them!
  • I send all emails from particular people like my own coach, my mastermind or other group I may be a part of to their own respective folders to keep them organized and my main inbox less cluttered.

2. Unsubscribe from everything you really don’t need – Ask yourself, do you need it?

  • Like the Staples and Office Depot emails I was getting….I know when I need office supplies where I’m going to go to buy them, I don’t need reminders of where to go and I certainly don’t need to be tempted with special sales to buy stuff when I don’t need anything.
  • Or, the email newsletters you get that scream sales at you or that don’t have relevant content anymore for you; if you don’t want the person to know you’re unsubscribing them have them automatically sent to your trash folder.

3. Create template emails – For emails or information you send regularly, keep a folder handy with the most recent emails in it for easy reference and copying to save time on future responses.

  • I receive applications for complimentary strategy sessions with me from people every week and I send pretty much the same thing to each person to schedule their session, all I have to do is copy an old email, enter in updated dates/times available and press send.
  • I also send out information about speaking for groups or telesummits to organizers and event producers so I have an email ready to go with my speaker sheet in it which includes talk titles, bio, picture, references and logo in it so I don’t miss out on any opportunity that comes along because that information isn’t put together.

4. Delegate when you’re away – Find someone to check your email for you so you can actually take a few days off or an entire vacation without checking in. (what a concept!)

  • Use a service such as so they can log into your computer from anywhere which makes it convenient for them and write out a cheat sheet for them for what to look out for when managing your emails.
  • My cheat sheet is 5 pages long but it covers all the bases and important emails that could come through and what to do with them so I don’t return to hundreds of emails responded to but not ‘handled’; there’s a big difference.
  • My team knows to text me on my cell with any pressing issues but there rarely are any when you have a team that kicks butt like I do. (That comes in time)

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to Mastering Your Email and Inbox!

(c) Copyright 2011 K. Sawa Marketing International. Katrina Sawa is an Award-Winning Author & Speaker who’s helped hundreds of small business owners take dramatic steps in their businesses to get them to the next level in business, revenues & their personal life. Get her Free Entrepreneur’s Success Kit at!