Whilst I love getting blog opportunities, emails are actually the bane of my life. I feel like all I do is clear out my inbox and get it down to emails I want to reply to and then do nothing about it. Four weeks have passed, blog I’ve responded to three emails and my inbox is back to over 1000. And I’m not even a big blogger! I feel very sorry for anything with a large followings. If I haven’t got around to replying to your email, there could be a few reasons. This post is all about my tips for getting your inbox down, keeping on top of what you need to be aware of and a bit of an apology.
Like most people, all my emails come to my phone. I read every email through there (or at least mark it as read; I’m not one of those girls who has 12,349 unread emails on her phone) so sort of just forget about replying. I hate replying from my phone as I like my full email signature to be included so I never stayed on top of things. My blog inbox also shares space with my personal inbox which is full of newsletters I signed up to about 4 years ago and am too lazy to unsubscribe from which makes it very difficult to keep track. As part of my blog revamp, and my refound love for blogging, I’ve been trying out a few tips for tackling my emails and keeping on top of it. And they seem to be working!
Folders have always been my best friend, but do I really need to keep press releases and blogger opportunities that I received two years ago? I think not. The first thing I did when I started the mammoth task of tackling my inbox was delete everything. I wanted a clean slate. The only emails I kept were open lines of inquiry about current projects. I copied the press contacts I wanted to keep to a spreadsheet (which only included a few as most contacts I haven’t heard from in over a year) then said farewell to everything. And my god it felt good.
Next up was to set up relevant folders. Yep, in deleting everything I cleared all my folders too which meant I could set up something that would work for me. There were so many folders that I was becoming overwhelmed with where to store emails, so ended up creating a new ‘to sort’ folder. No. No. No! Now I have folders that I am happy with and aren’t scaring me.
Ever since I sorted out my inbox, I’ve been deleting emails as they come in. If it’s junk or not of interest, I’ve been moving it straight to the trash so that I don’t have to deal with it later. Sure, some emails reply a ‘sorry, I’m not interested’ and I save those for later, but the majority are about buying followers or SEO tips which I just don’t care about. By deleting emails as they hit my inbox, I’m able to just look at the important ones later when I get to my laptop which make life so much easier.
Along the lines of deleting emails as they come in, I’ve also been unsubscribing from newsletters I’m not interested in (especially unsolicited one – why do brands insist on signing you up?). I believe there are apps and websites that do this for you but I’ve never had much luck with them. I suspect that within a month or so I’ll only have a few newsletters coming in per week and they’ll be ones I actually want to read!
I work full time on top of running my blog, so I can’t always reply straight away. However, by setting aside just 15 minutes per evening to respond to and file whatever has come in that day, my inbox has been staying fairly tidy. If you get quite a few emails, 15 minutes may not be enough but I’ve found that 15 minutes per day, which is almost 2 hours per week, is ample to give everything a response.
It’s when you fall behind that things start to get messy, so if I’ve not responded within 72 hours of receiving the email it’s obviously not important. This gives me a little bit of leeway with the 15 minute per day thing if I have a couple of busy evenings and don’t get to my laptop for a day or two. If I’ve not replied within 72 hours, I don’t reply at all. After than 72 hours cut off, I put it in the trash and never have to think about it again. Unless it is one of the incessant people who say ‘I’m worried you’ve died because you’ve not responded’, in which case I just mark the sender as spam.
I’m sure other things will crop up along the way that I will have to change about keeping on top of my emails, but these tips seem to be working for now. I feel like all I ever do is link back to Anna’s blog but it’s pretty much the only blog I read religiously so I’m not even sorry, but she has a fab post about how she kicks her inbox’s butt on a regular basis. And she’s one of those bloggers with an insane number of followers and probably has about 100 times the amount of emails I get each day, if not more. Her tips are definitely worth a read.
That was a much longer post that I was expecting, but if you’re anything like me you’ll be in a similar boat and have some real email issues to tackle. What are your top tips for cracking down on your emails and looking like a pro-blogger when it comes to blog correspondence?