(image via Small Fry)
As a small business owner, it’s completely understandable that you’d want to answer every single email that pops up in your inbox and to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. If you haven’t hit your desired level of success, it’s easy to think that what is being pitched to you will ultimately be amazing and perhaps career changing. But here’s the truth, more often than not, those emails are just a distraction and you’re probably wasting more valuable time than you know. Now, before you immediately click away from this blog after reading that, hear me out.
I spend a majority of my time on email (sadly, it’s not all glitter and candy over here as my Instagram might have you believe). So let’s say I get 10 emails from companies asking me to share their super cool product with you guys, but that they cannot pay for the ad space, aka they want me to work for free. If I take the time to reply to each and every one, that’s an hour out of my day writing emails that don’t help my business. An hour I could have been making, planning, or emailing brands I actually want to work with. And if I do this each day, that’s THIRTY hours a month that are completely gone. That’s not okay.
The reality is that you have far more important things to be doing than spending all day on your email. At the end of the day, remember that your time is really all you have. Don’t waste it on those who don’t appreciate or understand that.
If you also suffer some inbox madness, here are a few tips and tricks to save you some time along the way:
1. Limit the number of times you check your email in a day. I know, it sounds impossible. But really, think about all the time you waste checking your email in a day and how distracting it can be. Seriously, starting today or tomorrow, make a notch on a piece of paper for every time you check your mail (phone counts too). You might be surprised how many times you passively check.
I try my best to check 2-3 times a day, once in the morning, afternoon and evening. That way, once I reply to everyone, I can put it away and focus completely on something else.
2. Step away from the computer at night.. well at least social media and email. This was by far one of my biggest takeaways from Kari Chapin at Craftcation 2015. Give yourself time to decompress and be a person. Plus, what groundbreaking email have you received for your business after 10pm? Mmhmm, that’s what I thought.
3. Delete emails. So, remember that generic email you got from that company that wants you to work for them for free in exchange for promotion on their super cool site and it’s going to send you tons and tons of traffic? Yeah, delete it. 99% of the time, it’s not going to send you enough traffic to make up for your electricity bill being late that month. Why waste your time responding when it’s clearly not in your best interest? PS also see charging what you’re worth if you’re working for free.
4. Disable notifications on your phone. Every time your phone beeps or lights up, it’s easy to want to check what’s going on immediately. I recently disabled my email notifications and can’t tell you what a time saver it’s been. Now I have to open the app and refresh if I really want to check my mail. It also helps save battery life, so win-win!
How do you value your time? I’d love to hear your tips & tricks in the comments!