This week, we have a guest post from our friend and fellow nerd, Phil Gerbyshak. Without further ado, some wise words from Phil…
As much as it pains me to say it, my e-mail inbox runs my speaking business as much or more than I do. I spend at least 10 hours a week in my inbox, and I would be spending a lot more time if not for some great tools that have made my e-mail more manageable.
I’m starting with the best tool first. SaneBox saves me 5-10 hours EACH WEEK by making sure only personal messages end up in my inbox, unless I’ve trained it differently. An average day has me receiving more than 200 messages, for various alerts and things that have no urgency for me to review. SaneBox files those away so I don’t see them on my phone, and sends me a daily recap of all the messages it did this for so I can put them back in my inbox once or each time I get something from that sender with 1 click.
My inbox is now manageable on the go, and though I need to inbox about 1 message a day, the time it saves me frees me up to polish my presentation, make outbound calls, and market my articles on social media. Tip: Use my SaneBox link. It gives you $5 off your first paid month if you use my link, and I get $5 too.
If you want to get to Inbox Zero (no messages in your inbox), or you just want to archive (or delete) old messages so they are out of your sight, check out Mailstrom. It puts your e-mails into various buckets you can use to put into folders, archive or delete messages in ways you didn’t know was possible. It even tells you how many messages you received today, and helps you stay on top of your unruly inbox.
Stephen Shapiro recommended this tool to me, and it is a time saver – and a money maker. Have you been told to contact someone in 3 months, only to forget to follow up until 6 months have gone by? Use FollowUpThen! It’s a Gmail and Google Apps plugin that ensures you’ll never miss a follow up again. You choose when to follow-up, and FollowUpThen does the rest. And the best part? You can even send reminders to other people on your team to follow up for you! This will save you countless minutes – and will earn you at least 1 more piece of business, every year.
You know need to respond to an e-mail, but you know you won’t have the information you need to do it until tomorrow at 5 PM. What do you do? Add a calendar appointment? Instead – I offer you Boomerang. With just one click, you can send your your email away, only to pop up at the date and time you want it to. It’s a Google Chrome extension that’s free to download and use. The free version boomerangs 5 messages per month, which is about how many times I use it.
Have you ever known someone sent you an e-mail, but you can’t find them in your contacts? Tired of copying and pasting people’s signature lines into your contacts or CRM solution, or worse, manually typing them? EverContact searches through your e-mail to find anyone who has a signature block to update your contacts automatically. The paid version will even update some of the more popular CRM tools. I get a few dollars if you use my link. It’s worth the investment.
Microsoft Outlook for iPhone and Android
Last but not least is the Microsoft Outlook app. This app allows you to manage multiple e-mail accounts, multiple calendars (even shared calendars), multiple file sharing services (Box.net, DropBox, OneDrive to name a few) and set up different e-mail signatures for different email accounts. You can even get an “All Mail” few that allows you to see every message in every inbox you have connected. Lastly, there’s a “Focused” tab that allows you to get just what Microsoft thinks is a personal message, which has kept me from going down many an e-mail rabbit hole of what looked to be a message just to me but was actually junk mail.
You don’t have to have a Microsoft email address or use Outlook on your desktop or laptop. It’s just a free app you can download in the App Store. To get it, just search for Microsoft Outlook on the Apple Store or the Google Play store.
Using these tools won’t make your e-mail problems completely go away, but they will make your inbox much more manageable, and most importantly, you won’t have to wade through thousands of messages just to get to the ones that require your full attention and energy – the ones from most important people in YOUR world!