Do you find yourself constantly being interrupted during your deep work by your emails? Maybe you want to respond quickly to every email or DM so you find yourself not really getting anything done on your to-do list? Do you get to the end of a work day and you feel like your inbox is just running your life and taking priority over your entire to-do list? I’ve been there, my friend. Let’s chat about how to improve email productivity.
As soloprenuers, many times we feel the pressure to instantly respond to emails in order to be productive. While I love “inbox: 0”, the reality is, it’s not sustainable to have your inbox open and in the background refreshing every second. In the newest episode of All Angles Photography Podcast, we talk about how to improve email productivity from time blocking, setting and keeping boundaries, snoozing (I don’t mean sleeping), scheduling emails, and so much more.
This first tip isn’t regulated to just improve email productivity. You can utilize time blocking in any aspect of your business and even everyday life. Time blocking is a productivity strategy where you chunk out your tasks into certain amounts of time or “blocks”. In those “time blocks”, you ONLY do the tasks assigned for that block. This helps you start each day with a good idea of what you’re going to do that day and when. I utilize time blocking in my everyday life, and it has changed my productivity for the better.
Now time blocking has 2 “sisters”, day theming and task batching. I’m sure you have heard of batching your content and task batching as a whole. Day theming, on the other hand, is a little less talked about. This strategy is where you “theme” each day so it makes it easier to focus on the tasks at hand. For example, having a meeting or content day, writing day, or deep work day. Your day will revolve around a certain type of work! So on meeting days, you know you’ll get less work done on those days. On deep work days, you know you don’t have to get camera ready.
Make sure to listen to this episode and episode 4 to dive deeper into productivity, time blocking, day theming, and task batching!
I know life doesn’t always go as planned! Sometimes, I personally find myself responding to emails at 11pm or on a flight when life gets in the way. I would encourage you to keep the boundaries we chat about in point 4 and make sure these emails are being sent within your office hours (no matter when you are actually sending them).
You may think, “What if I can’t respond during office hours on a certain day?”. Use the schedule feature! (Most email platforms will have this feature.) Type out your response to all of your emails at whatever time you want and schedule them to send during your office hours. You’ll thank yourself later for holding this boundary.
Another feature I love to improve email productivity is the snooze feature. I find that when I just mark or keep an email unread, I get more inbox overwhelm and worry about that email going unanswered for too long. The snooze feature will pop the email back up to the top of your inbox when you have the mental capacity to respond. With the snooze feature, the email won’t show up as unread and I don’t have to keep that reminder in the back of my brain.
As we talked about in episode 2, CRMs and systems are so important for your business. A small way to start out with this is to write up canned emails. If there are emails you find yourself sending all the time, you are constantly answering the same question, or writing up the same information, create an email template for it!
You can make a template for almost every email you send out. I would recommend having the bones of the emails written out and then add personalization from there. We don’t want you sounding like a robot!
If you want to start small with email templates, then just make templates for emails you find yourself sending all the time. Think your initial inquiry responses or follow ups. It will save you so much time in your inbox, trust me.
First off, put your office hours in your email signature. For real, pull up your email right now and add them in. Done? Okay back to the knowledge bombs. This just gives your couples expectations on when they will hear from you, puts a boundary in place, and keeps you a little accountable to make sure you are responding in those hours.
Secondly, client experience is always key with me, as we know. Responding quickly to inquiries is definitely huge when it comes to client experience. It may feel like you need to respond to inquiries within the hour, but trust me, 24-48 hours is totally acceptable. All I would suggest is that you are relaying that expectation somehow to your potential couples. As long as your potential couples know when they can expect to hear from you, take that 24-48 hours, friend.
Lastly, take off at least 1 day a week. This day can change and pivot as you need. But it is definitely a necessity to have at least one day away from your inbox.
Communication is always key when it comes to client experience. First, try out some of these tips to keep your inbox under control while maintaining your sanity. If you still feel overwhelmed or just need a little extra help during wedding season, hire a VA! I know I have touched on this almost every episode, but it can be life changing for your stress levels.
Productivity and client experience have a special place in my heart. I could chat about them forever! I would love to chat with you about tips you’ve found helpful to improve email productivity that I didn’t touch on. Or if you try out some of these tips and love them, let me know!