Overcoming Email Overwhelm
We've noticed a small trend with sellers—they struggle to manage emails.
As a business owner most of your communication will happen via email, chat, or phone. So, why focus on email for this post? It's the singular channel that seems impossible to control.
The reality, is that it's very controllable, with the right process and tools in place.
Here's how you avoid 10,000 unread emails and countless missed opportunities in your inbox.
Achieving inbox zero
The concept of inbox zero is incredible. It helps you set a goal of having 0 unread emails in your inbox every single day. While that sounds overwhelming at first, it's a straight-forward process in reality.
To begin, you need to categorize every email using the Three D's—Do it, Delegate it, or Delete it.
These are the only options you have when looking at any email. Here's how they break down and how to apply them:
- Do it: If an email requires a quick response or action that can be completed immediately, it's best to do it right away. This helps to keep your inbox manageable and prevents tasks from piling up.
- Delegate it: If the email involves a task that someone else is better equipped to handle, delegate it to that person. This could be a colleague who has more expertise in a certain area or a team member who has more time to dedicate to the task.
- Delete it: If an email is not important, relevant, or no longer serves a purpose, delete it. This helps to keep your inbox clutter-free and ensures that you're only spending time on emails that truly require your attention.
There are some nuances that are useful here. If an email includes a larger task, I would recommend moving it to a todo list like Todoist. The goal here is to "find the work" and move it to where it belongs.
Removing 80% of your emails
Achieving inbox zero feels difficult because of the volume you see in your inbox. The logical starting place is to fix the volume problem.
While you can unsubscribe from emails that no longer provide value, it can take time to do. Instead, I recommend adding filters to automatically handle these emails for you.
The best filters for sellers are the following two:
- If an email contains "unsubscribe"
- If an email contains "receipt"
For emails that contain the word unsubscribe, those should be marked as read and moved to another folder. Essentially, get them out of the way without actually deleting them. Here's how to apply this filter.
Receipt emails are useful, but should probably go to another folder called Receipts.
The point here is that we're automatically organizing our inbox so that only the most important emails are left.
Leveraging snippets and AI
There are three major areas everyone should be aware of when it comes to managing their email.
Just because an email requires a response does not mean that it needs to be hand written every time. This is where snippets or templates came into play.
For example, I never type someone's name—I type ";name" which my email client replaces with the senders name. This is a small example, but one that illustrates an important point. Snippets should be used like lego pieces.
This is something our customer success team does as well. It allows us to move quickly without making a mistake.
Here's another example: I routinely receive cold emails from other software companies trying to schedule a demo or sell us. So, I created a snippet the replaces ";decline" with a well written email explaining how we're not currently interested.
Snippets are great for specific responses, but what if you could type out a few lines of what you want your response to include and have AI write the email the way you would?
That's a feature of my favorite email client called Superhuman. I give it a few bullet points and it writes the whole email. I sometimes have to edit small things, but that's rare.
When you combine snippets with AI your inbox begins to feel less daunting.
Some emails trigger a process that needs to be followed. For example, you may always backup email receipts to a Google Drive folder. Why not automate this using a tool like Zapier?
Zapier allows you to forward emails to them, extract information if needed, and do something with the content.
While I use Zapier less, here are two examples I couldn't live without:
- Newsletters — I forward interesting emails to Readwise to read later, then archive the email
- Flights/Hotels — I forward all confirmations to Tripcase + Flighty so the information is added to my calendar and I get real-time updates
As you can see, there's more to email than you may have realized. When you turn it into a game, email becomes a superpower.
Like networking, mastering your email inbox is not just a skill—it's a superpower.
If you apply the strategies mentioned above you'll create more time for what matters and stop missing important opportunities that could change the trajectory of your business.
Remember, achieving inbox zero is about more than just having no unread emails; it’s about clarity, focus, and being in control of your communication. Utilizing filters effectively slashes through the noise, allowing you to concentrate on what truly matters. And with the clever use of snippets, templates, and AI, you can respond to emails more easily.
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