The other day I posted my personal biggest time wasters while blogging. Today I’m posting some solutions I’m considering for email and moderating blog comments. I’m tacking these two time wasters together, because blog comments are one major source of email for me.
How I already save time on email:
Have decent email: I use Gmail for my major email account. I.e. anyone that matters gets my Gmail account. Gmail is very good about clearing spam (knock on wood) and so far I’ve never had an issue with them, like I have with other email providers. At first it was tough for me to get used to the whole forum-like thread on Gmail, but now, I really like it. If you have an email account that passes too much spam through, consider changing providers.
I don’t respond to everyone: I used to respond to everyone, even if it wasen’t that useful to me personally, like a PR person with a tip I couldn’t use. I’d email to say thanks anyhow, but no thanks. Now I’ve pulled back a bit on email etiquette. I respond if it’s important, if you’re a friend, and often if it’s someone with a question about blogging, but that’s it.
New ideas I have to save time on email:
Don’t answer every email right away: There are some people who say that you should only check your email if you’re ready to respond. I used to do that. Problem was I’d check my email 3+ times a day. Now I don’t answer all my emails right away. I’ve been saving them up. I still do check my email maybe 3 times a day, in case there’s some sort of client emergency, but I’ve been trying to answer the bulk of them at night.
Check your email once a day only: This is too hard for me to do, but I’ve been considering bucking up and trying it. The issue is that on weekdays I’d have 100s by nighttime if I didn’t do a sweep a couple of times a day. What I do currently is fly in, and scan for unimportant emails , which I delete, and toss everything else into labeled folders.
Delete all blog comments right away: It’s not always up to me whether I get comments emailed or not; sometimes my clients or networks have them sent to me. However, what I’ve found is that if I read and respond to comments when I see them in my inbox, it wastes a lot of time. My new system that I’m working on is simply reading my comment panels once a day at all my blogs. I’m not too good at this yet. I like to read comments as they arrive, but it does waste more time than dealing with them all at once.
Deal with special groups of emails once a week only: I get lots of emails from people asking me to do product reviews or giving me tips on topics. I’m saving all these in a PR folder that I sort, read, and answer once weekly. I’m also part of a stumble email group, so I’ve been labeling and saving these as well.
I started working on my email problems last week and so far it’s been better. It takes time to develop new habits though, and most days I really want to go comment at my blogs right away, or respond to stuff that’s not a dire emergency. If I follow through, I think the above ideas are really going to help me.
Obviously I’m not the best person to be giving email advice (it is one of my issues) so I decided to search out a few links you can read that address email nightmares:
12 Rules for Getting a Grip on Massive ProBlogger Email – great tips, some I’ll be trying out.
Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload – an older article, but had some nice tips surrounding how to send better emails, and how to let people know that you’re not an email slave.
10 Tips for Managing Email Effectively – excellent pointers about all areas of email management.
20+ Firefox Plugins For Managing Email – extra plugins tend to make my world more difficult, not easier, but these may work well for you.
What’s your best tip for managing email overload?