How Email is Holding my Business Back (And How I’m Fighting Back)

keyboardDoes this sound familiar? You sit down to get some work done. You open up your browser and your word processor and you’re going to get some writing done. Before you get started you check your email and social media in case anything important came in. You answer an email or two, read one about a new blog post someone posted, and you click over. You read the blog post and it was pretty great so you tweet it out. You close out of all of that and open up your WordPress panel so you can start typing up a blog post. Well, might as well check email again real quick. I don’t want a customer to be waiting because I spent an hour working on a blog post and didn’t check for it.

So, does that sound familiar? I know I fall victim to the never ending email and social media loop. In fact, it’s probably the biggest time sink of my entire workday day after day after day. I’ve tried everything. I’ve forwarded my email to one account. I’ve set up TweetDeck so I can check all of my Twitter accounts at once. (I have one for each of my three blogs.) I’ve tried setting up specific times to check it. I always end up feeling like I need to make sure everything is okay though!

It seems like every day I encounter this same issue and every day I fight it. It’s driving me crazy! Today I’m saying enough is enough. Here are some of the things I’m doing to at least make it take up LESS of my time.

  • I took all of the emails in my inbox and moved them to an “archive” folder. I don’t want to take the time to go through and delete ones I don’t need so I’m move them all and use the “search” feature if I need to find an important old email. This gives me a clean inbox on my different email accounts.
  • As emails come in I’ll unsubscribe from all but a small handful of lists. I bookmark RSS feeds to keep up on blogs so I don’t need to be signed up for nearly as many lists as I am. I use one email for keeping up with PLR releases so I’ll be unsubscribing from any non-PLR lists on that email.
  • I’ll be using a tool to track my internet usage to see exactly how much time I spend on email. I’m sure seeing the number will help me fight the urge to constantly check it.
  • I have all of my customer support and reader emails going to one email address. The other ones will only be checked when I wake up and after I’m done with my work.

Do you have this problem too? What steps have you taken towards avoiding it? Leave a comment below.

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  1. I have about 2,600 emails right now sitting in gmail. How do you archive them and remove them from the inbox in one sweep? That’s what I need to know.

    I hate having all this email sitting around, but who has the time to read it all?

    When I get a better system, I’ll let you know! In the meantime, if you can answer that simple question, I will be in your debt forever!
    Bonnie Gean recently posted..Harness the Power of a Signature File [Podcast #001]My Profile

    • Check the box that lets you select all of the emails in the first page. At the top of the first email there will be some text links and one will say something like “Select all 2600 emails.” Then you press the “archive” button. It’s to the right of the “select all emails on page” button. (Both buttons are right under the search bar.)

  2. I have been known to jump around through the email hoops.

    Right now my challenge is that I have different email accounts for different niches. I would love to figure out how to get everything to go into one place. I wonder if I do that though, will the “reply” that I send out come from the original account?

    Mary Kathan recently posted..Social Media Sizing Cheat SheetMy Profile

    • I currently keep it in separate inboxes but I made a folder in my bookmarks called “Email” and I can right click and open the entire folder at once to check them all.

  3. Amanda, I sure had to smile when I read your post. It sounds like me. I have been trying to get off of some email lists too, but then I end up signing up for more! I like your idea of archiving your emails, and then starting with a clean inbox. When there’s so many emails piling up in your inbox, it starts to feel like you’re always behind with something! One thing I did with my emails was I turned off the sound so that I don’t hear every time a new email comes into my inbox. I found that I was getting distracted checking to see who just emailed me!
    Kim Phoenix recently posted..Amember – A Review After Using it for One YearMy Profile

  4. Oh yes, I am in the same loop de loop! It is madness isn’t it? Generally, if I don’t need my browser, I keep it closed or else I’m tempted to check email and Facebook and Twitter.

    I’ve been trying to tell myself, “Okay, only five minutes and it’s back to work.” That works some, but I’m not consistent with telling myself that.

    Using a timer helps, when I remember to load the little bugger. And I’ve also been unsubbing from lists that just clutter my inbox, or I move them to a special subscriber email and just check them once a day or so.

    It is a vicious cycle, but I know we can kick it in the butt if we just keep at it and keep holding each other accountable or at least giving little nudges here and there. 😉
    Patti Stafford recently posted..How Do You Get the Power of a Focused Business?My Profile

    • I’m thinking I’ll either unsubscribe or reroute the email list emails so at the end of the day I can go to a folder and see the ones I actually want to read. It’ll help a lot if I click to my email and only see emails from readers and customers. I can quickly answer those and get back to work.

  5. If you use gmail, you can import email fo it and set it so that your reply from account shows the other email account.

  6. Oh yeah, I am always working on this problem!

    At some point last year I realised I was spending more and more time answering emails, and many were simple problems with PLR downloads etc but I was wasting time with a lot of back and forth questions about order numbers, account usernames etc. So for my memberships I set up custom email forms, that already ask for that info, that get sent straight to my Zendesk helpdesk. That cut the answer time WAY down and it’s really streamlined.

    As for other emails, I use archive all the time! It’s so perfect, because it still means you can find the email if you search like you said. But personally I like to keep the only emails in my inbox the ones that need action.

    I also find I can be really bad at forgetting to reply so I’m starting a new thing where I try to reply as soon as I read the email (unless it requires more complicated action then I add it to my to do list)

    Great topic – one that we can all use help with I’m sure!

    Also, it told me on Skype it’s your birthday today – Happy Birthday!!!
    Ruth recently posted..5 Ways Content Creation Will Pay Off For Your BusinessMy Profile

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