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Spring clean your inbox: Four simple email hacks for the smart franchise professional

Written by Suzy Sanders on Wednesday, 07 April 2021. Posted in People

Email anxiety is very real. Whilst technology enables us to communicate fast, effectively and in real time. It also brings with it a whole heap of practical and mental strain.

Spring clean your inbox: Four simple email hacks for the smart franchise professional

Email anxiety is very real. Whilst technology enables us to communicate fast, effectively and in real time. It also brings with it a whole heap of practical and mental strain. 

I am not one for striving to achieve ‘inbox zero’ - yet another impossible standard! 

But I do know from drawing on my many years’ experience supporting c-suite corporate executives and my recent years starting, growing and scaling my Virtual Assistant franchise just how important it is to both your productivity and headspace to properly manage your emails. 

Here are four top tips for the smart franchise professional to help spring clean your inbox:

Schedule times to check messages 

Best practice at Alchemy VA is to check our emails at 10 am and 2 pm. We work flexibly so this isn’t a rule, it’s a guideline. Checking our emails at these times helps us be super productive and protects the integrity of our focused client and business development time. 

It's all too easy to get sucked into your inbox first thing and lose a whole morning. Email is an invaluable communication tool but if you’re not careful, it can be a huge distraction and time suck! 

Set up rules 

Rules are perfect for all those messages you want to keep but don’t necessarily need to see or have clogging up your inbox.  These could be emails like: confirmations, newsletters, direct debit payments, etc. 

Set up a folder and create a rule to automatically file these types of less important and urgent messages. You could go one step further here and have a completely separate personal email account for online purchases and/or all those downloadable freebies. Doing this keeps them out of your main business inbox all together and reduces your future email traffic.

Utilise your out of office 

Most days my ‘out of office’ autoresponder is on. I am certainly not on one big holiday. But I do use my out of office to tell people what I am up to and help manage their expectations in terms of a response. 

At Alchemy VA, we like to get creative with our messages, here are some recent examples: 

"Thanks for getting in touch, I am speaking at an event today so I won’t be checking my emails as regularly. If you need urgent assistance please call the office on 01604 312195. You can take a look at some of the photos from the event over on our Instagram Page." 

" I just wanted to let you know that I've received your email. I won't have the opportunity to read and respond as I am catching up with the Alchemy VA franchise family today and I want to be sure to give them my full focus and attention. I will get back to you tomorrow but if your message can't wait until then you can call our head office on 01604 312195." 

Whatever approach you adopt for your out of office message be sure to update it often and include a point of contact for truly urgent issues. Otherwise, your auto response very quickly goes from useful and informative to pretty unhelpful and annoying! 

Most people will opt to call in the event of an emergency, so be sure to leave your mobile number or, if you don’t want to be disturbed, direct them to your call handling company or Virtual Assistant. 

Turn off your notifications 

Turning off email notifications on your devices is another really simple yet powerful thing you can do to help you regain control and protect your headspace. 

You don’t have to limit this principle to your emails exclusively. Why not turn off the notifications on all your apps and check social media sites, messaging platforms, emails and texts when you’re good and ready. 

Remember, your phone and devices exist for your convenience not other peoples. 

You don’t always have to be online and readily available.

About the Author

Suzy Sanders

Suzy Sanders

Suzy Sanders is the founder & franchisor at Alchemy Virtual Assistance (VA), the UK’s only family run VA franchise - providing award-winning remote administration services, practical marketing and PA support to franchisees, franchisors and other entrepreneurs, and business owners across the UK.

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