I don't need to tell you as a small business owner that I'm having time management issues because you already know that we all have time management issues. I wonder if there was such a problem with managing time 100 years ago in 1910? Somehow I doubt it.
In 2010 it's a big problem. Today I'm going to address one way I'm dealing with this issue and that's a cleaner way of dealing with my email. When I first started this business of coaching small business owners way back in 2008, I was getting about 5 – 10 emails a day and they were mostly emails from newsletters I subscribed to. These days 50 in a day is not that rare an occurrence. Times have changed.
Well, actually time hasn't changed, but my in-box sure has. About 6 weeks ago I had an epiphany – my in-box has to change. So, I came up with my triple in-box system. Here's how it works in a nutshell. I have 3 email addresses that are used for specific purposes like an A, B, C list of tasks with A's being the priority tasks.
Mailbox A – This is my Growth Coach in-box and it is now reserved exclusively for email to and from clients, prospects and partners, my franchise family, my immediate family, and the few newsletters I actually read. This is important and urgent email that I don't want to miss on a daily basis.
Mailbox B – This is one of my two personal email addresses. I use MSN for this one and it is for all email related to my social networking such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It's less urgent so I check it a few times a day. I also get email here from friends and non-immediate family. I get receipts for internet orders and statements from companies I do business with. This is important, but generally not urgent email.
Mailbox C – This one, which is a Yahoo address, is reserved for all the newsletters I subscribe to. I can let them pile up and it's no big deal. I have tons of storage. I'll go in here most days, but not always. I read a few articles and move on. I also get some email from companies I do business with, but I don't get any billing notices here – those are for Mailbox B. So, this mailbox is for email that's neither urgent nor important.
I've been using this system for about 6 weeks now and it's nearly there. I still need to move around a few emails from mailbox A to B, C to B, and so forth, and it will be done. I'm very happy with the results as I'm now getting fewer emails in mailbox A, which makes me calmer and more organized. I'm also better at following up on urgent and important email because I don't get distracted by non-urgent email.
If you're experiencing email overload and it's frazzling your nerves, you may want to try my triple in-box system, or go with at least a double in-box system, which is what I use in the physical world on my desk.
Share your comments on what you think about this system. What system do you use? I look forward to your comments, which will flow in to Mailbox A. That's how important I think you are. For now.