Yes, I do occasionally get really stressed about my overflowing, never ending email inbox. My tipping point? More than one screen of email. [What’s yours?] The stress is because it means there are people I’ve not responded to and I pride myself on responding within 24 hours. But my email mindset is the key here.
Here are 3 new ways to think about your email. These will immediately help to:
- Lower your stress level
- Know what to look for first (the gems!)
- Make the clutter pop out at you.
I’ve also recorded a short video if you’d prefer to watch and listen. You can find it here.
Email Mindset Change #1: Email is about Relationships
What are the gems in your email inbox?
What’s the primary means people use to reach you to ask about working with you, or answer your question, or stay in touch?
Email. It starts many conversations even if you move to a phone call. Yes, we use Facebook or LinkedIn message and texts but the main way? Email.
Many of my professional colleagues and clients are people I don’t ever get to meet in person, or only get to see once a year. Email, phone, and Zoom or Skype are the ways we stay connected. In person is ideal. Phone calls are wonderful. We are all busy, so having email to stay in touch in between these times is a way to show you’re still thinking of each other.
Connections, communication and relationships. Look for those gems next time you look at your email.
Email Mindset Change #2: Email is about Accountability
Accountability is another gem you’ll find when you look.
My accountability partner and I meet by phone every other week. We share updates or stumbling blocks in between and on email.That helps us stay on track, because 2 weeks seems like an eternity sometimes, doesn’t it?
Clients coach with me 2 or 4 times a month. They often ask if they can send an update, to hold themselves accountable to their goals in between our meetings.This is another fantastic way to keep things moving for yourself and teaches you a great habit.
Accountability builds trust, in yourself that you will follow through, and it builds trust in your working relationships.
Email Mindset Change #3: Email is about Decision Making
Think about it: with EACH email, you have to decide how to respond, whether to delegate, what the priority is, who else needs to be involved, what can be filtered out, what other steps need to happen, how the email fits into the larger project or picture, and when an issue or conflict becomes big enough that you need to take more action. Email includes emotions, boundaries [saying “no”] and making difficult decisions.
Email is a microcosm of your whole day. It’s complicated and filled with decisions. Because we don’t consciously acknowledge this, we underestimate the attention we need to pay to email. We don’t give it the time it deserves. We work through too much clutter. Or we chase its tail all day long, letting it run our days.
Email Systems – Up Next
In a future blog, I’ll share details of my own “system” for managing my email inbox. The key pieces are going to be:
- the products/apps/email features – the tools which make it easier;
- habits and standards for managing email communications;
- and your routines for managing.
Start with a mindset shift and it all becomes clearer, easier, and less stressful.
Remember the gems. Perspective is everything.
P.S. Work with me to figure out your email system. Feel more productive, less stressed and more on top of your days.
Here is more about how I work …. Click here
Free download: Your schedule/time management questionnaire to figure out where to start managing the overwhelm. Click here. Or click on the wheel at left.