If you cannot disconnect long enough to use the facilities without communicating to a client, then you need a new strategy.
*SaneBox is a tool that I LOVE and use with 3 different email accounts in order to stay on top of conversations that are important to me. SaneBox has specific folders available that you can turn on or off such as @SaneLater, @SaneBulk and @SaneBlackHole. @SaneLater will filter all emails out of your inbox that don’t seem super important. @SaneBulk will attempt to filter all receipts, invoices, etc. Want to make sure that you don’t ever see a particular sender in your inbox again? That is what @SaneBlackHole is for. A few of my favorite features:
You can train emails to go into any box that you would like them to go into. Sanebox is highly intuitive and will learn what you need it to filter.
It’s not like the Outlook or Mac Mail rules in the sense that the filters continue working even when your computer is offline.
You can create custom @Sane-boxes.
It’s true that Gmail and iCloud will do all of this for free (SaneBox is $5/mo/email address), but if you aren’t using Gmail for the majority of your email – if it is hosted elsewhere for instance or *gasp* you aren’t addicted to Apple products like me, then @Sanebox provides a lovely alternative.
If you do use Gmail, I highly recommend setting up filters and labels to do this same thing. It’s quick and easy. Simply put a check in front of a message that contains a sender from whom you receive quite a few emails. Select ‘More’ in the menu bar above your messages and then select ‘Filter messages like these’. Then you can follow through the steps to get emails from that particular sender or with that particular subject or content out of your inbox.
If you use iCloud, you can now create rules that will work similarly to filter emails into specific locations. Log into iCloud online. Click on the message in your inbox, then click on the gear icon in the upper right hand corner and select rules. Again follow the steps to create a rule to keep emails from that sender or with that subject out of your inbox.
And while I do love SaneBox, I still have another email address specifically set up for my virtual assistant (herein: VA) to monitor. Yes, even VAs have VAs. This brings me to my next suggestion.
If you are emailing from the toilet, then I can only assume that you are short on time. Do you make money responding to email? Maybe you do. If not, however, and it isn’t boosting your ROI, you may want to consider a new strategy. Keep it simple. You probably have emails coming in from social media sites, newsletters and other automated notifications. A VA can easily help you with this kind of task. You will have to explain specifically what you are wanting your VA to handle for you, but you should not have to explain the fundamentals of how to manage email. (If you do, then I suggest that you look for another VA*.)
To enable your VA to be autonomous and very efficient, I suggest the following:
Set up a separate company email address (i.e. info@…, support@…, admin@…, name@…, etc.) specifically for your VA to manage. You could also create a Gmail address specifically for this purpose or allow her/him to login directly to your inbox, if that is within your comfort-zone.
Update newsletters, social media sites, blogs, etc. that you are subscribed to and would like your VA to manage with the new email address.
Keep looking for senders/subjects to delegate to your VA, freeing you to disconnect from your inbox for a while, use the facilities the way nature intended…alone, and spend more time increasing your ROI with your skillset.
*Note: VAs are professionals, not employees, who have a background as an administrative assistant (in most cases) and vast experience managing email, contacts and calendars for multiple upper level staff or C Level executives. They have so much experience, generally, that they have decided rather than continue to work in Corporate America, they’d rather have their own business providing support to entrepreneurs and other businesses.
*I am not in any way affiliated or sponsoring SaneBox, Gmail, Apple or any other brand mentioned in this post. I love to share tools with you that are helpful and keep me productive and of sound mind. 😉
What tools do you use to manage email? Could you spare a second to share a comment to let me know if this was helpful or how you manage your inbox?
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