Throughout April, I’m sharing some micro spring cleaning challenges to help you make your freelance life a little easier. This week, I’m tackling emails! Below is a quick summary of the main points, with the links mentioned.
Create a filter for newsletters. I followed this tutorial on tiktok by Charlotte Goss VA, and it’s made my inbox a much happier place to be! I know Gmail has a filter a bit like this, but it still ends up contributing to my inbox numbers. This filter means it skips the inbox, goes straight to a subfolder and gets archived, but still shows up as unread in the folder until you read it. Essentially it filters for any emails that say ‘unsubscribe’ in the body, so any emails you’ve subscribed to. Which means your main inbox will mainly just be direct emails for you!
Try an app like Chuck. I think this might be an iphone only app, but I’m sure there are alternatives on Android etc. Essentially it sorts by sender, so I can see in one go how many emails I have from each sender…then quickly unsubscribe, archive or delete (in fact, deleting is better for the environment than archiving). When my inbox is totally overwhelmed, this is the app I go to, to try and remove as much noise as possible.
Add an FAQ section to your email. If you email me directly, you should get an auto-reply letting you know I’ve received your email, will reply by X, and then some useful links that might help in the meantime. It means that occasionally someone can get the answer to their question in those FAQ, rather than waiting for me to reply.
Create inbox time. In the Freelance Business Lounge, Georgina hosts Inbox Zero every Monday at 9:30 to spend 30 minutes to sort out inboxes. Not reply necessarily, but sort through it. It gets us all into the right headspace, the body doubling means we all stay focused, and it’s nice to share out wins afterwards! I also use Sunsama (affiliate link), to turn those emails into tasks, which I can then add to my calendar, and then delete or archive from my inbox. So emails spend less time dawdling in my inbox!
Finally, if you have a newsletter you may want to look at decluttering your follower lists. Many of the big newsletter platforms have cut offs for how many subscribers you can have before you get charged a higher level. Liz Wilcox has a great training called Open Sesame on this in her $9 a month membership (affiliate), as well as weekly email templates you can use that get amazing results.
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