When You’ve Got Mail…Lots of It!

Do you ever feel overrun by your email inbox? There are times when mine takes on a life of its own. Why? Because I love signing up for interesting newsletters, offers, and events. The problem? I don’t have enough time to read it all. The great news? I recently had a conversation about this with our guest expert, Danielle M. Miller, who has some amazing vetting strategies she uses to keep her inbox manageable, and agreed to share them with you. Enjoy!

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Inboxes, RSS feeds, newsletters, pinged, tweeted, status updates…oh my!  We get information (a lot of it) on a minute to minute basis anymore.  One of the biggest challenges is how to cut through the noise, and if you have a business yourself, how to be the one other people listen to.

I’m writing this post from a dual perspective, as someone who subscribes and as someone who would like to share information with you.  I have learned to zealously guard my inbox against the logjam of emails, newsletters, offers, and noise that once inundated my email; and I am also someone who would like to be invited to your inbox as a trusted resource.

Over the last 5 years I have developed my own litmus test for what stays and what goes from my inbox, and it also serves me as someone who has been granted access to your inbox to monitor and evaluate my communication as well.

Do you have an inbox management plan?

At some point you have to draw that proverbial line in the sand so that your energy is being fed and not drained by the massive amounts of information that is coming your way on a daily basis.

The following are strategies that I either currently use, or have used in the past with success (I think it’s helpful to refine and reassess strategies frequently as your needs and desires change as well).

Value to Pitch Ratio

I respect the fact that when I subscribe to someone’s list they are going to offer their services or products to me.  They are making a living just as I am, but pitch after pitch gets tiresome (as an aside, I never mark emails as spam if I initially signed up for more info…I simply unsubscribe…no harm, no foul).

What am I looking to learn from this person?

  • Is it the way they market themselves?
  • Are they a leader (in my opinion) in their particular area of expertise?
  • Do I want to learn more about this topic?
  • How much information am I receiving about this topic?  (I don’t need ezines from 10 different marketing experts).
  • Are they a colleague I admire or would like to know better?

And, of course this works from the other end.  I want to provide value, cause you to think differently, provide strategies, and start a conversation if you’ve invited me into your inbox.

Have they made an effort to interact with me? (either online or offline)

*This is a big one for me.  If I’ve reached out to that person, whether on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, I expect the courtesy of a reply (particularly if I’ve reached out several times).  I hold myself to that standard and I expect it from those on the other end.  The whole idea of social media is being social, making connections and developing relationships.  This extends to me inviting you into my email box.

Does the mode of communication fit my learning style?

What I mean by this is that I like videos…audios not so much.  I have found that when someone sends me the ‘replay’ of something it tends to sit in my inbox forever (literally).  I like brevity, not long drawn out emails, etc.  So if the ‘noise’ is not my preferred method of learning, I unsubscribe.

Is this someone I would like to sit down with over a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine;))?

I don’t mean this in a ‘pick the brain’ kind of way, but as in to really know find out about that person’s journey, what challenges do they face, what are they up to next, etc.  I adore talking with remarkable people who want to do their great work and I want to know more about them.

Sunday Folder

One final practical tip is that in addition to labeling, creating folders, and prioritizing my mail, I’ve also created what I call my Sunday folder.  The Sunday folder is for the things that I’d like to spend a bit more time reading or looking at, but don’t have the time for during the week.  I catch up on this while I’m watching Sunday night football or whatever else happens to be on (hey it works for me!).

The above guidelines are, of course, subjective, and the most effective strategies are the ones that work for you.  Your time and energy are far too valuable to waste. What strategies are you using to prevent your inbox tide from overtaking you?

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Danielle Miller is a reinvention coach and brand strategist who is the Founder of Inspired Strategic Living and Danielle M Miller Intl., companies dedicated to helping women worldwide create the life they crave.

Passionate about truth, authenticity, and transformation; Danielle is on a mission to help you reimagine, reinvent, and reignite your life. She combines left brain strategy with right brain intuition to help women create a sizzling personal brand and rock their reinvention.  Connect with Danielle at DanielleMMiller.com, Twitter and Facebook

8 Comments

  1. Posted September 14, 2011 at 1:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    PS – Ah, you sussed me out, but I was an Old School DJ & used these large discs of plastic called ‘vinyl’! Heh he

    RE:Discipline – absolutely. As I coach, I like to walk my talk and to be congruent with the strategies I use is totally key to me, so I will ‘self-coach’ to hold myself accountable. In my experience, I have found tools such as the Motivaider quite useful to stay on track until a habt is ‘locked’ in.
    As the great Jim Rohn said “Discipline is the bridge between goals & accomplishment”

    • Posted September 14, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink | Reply

      vinyl…vinyl?? what is this of which you speak 😉

      agreed 1000%! a coach who doesn’t walk their talk will eventually be found out and will lose all credibility. Now I’m googling Motivaider!

  2. Posted September 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Randy,

    Glad you liked the ideas. I don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’ for anything in life. I think you have to go through the process of figuring out what works for YOU.

    Thank so much for adding your input!

    Warmly,

    Danielle

  3. Posted September 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great strategies for dealing with a full inbox. I liked the ‘would you sit down for a coffee with this person’ question as a filtering method. I kind of do this, but treat each e-mail like a radio station, where I stay for a while, & come back if its good – if not, choose to tune in to other ‘stations’ which have a better ‘playlist’ so to speak. RE: Sunday mail – GMail has a great feature where you can star a mail for reading later – great for when you want sort your inbox out quickly!
    Thanks for the great article Danielle & Stephanie 🙂

    • Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hey Grant,

      Glad you enjoyed the tips and I love your analogy of a radio station (music lover that I am!)…very cool way of thinking about it.

      Yes, I use the starred feature in gmail as well…and then found I was starring too much of it! But again, it’s all about what works for you and your needs.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Warmly,

      Danielle

      • Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Hey Danielle

        Thanks for the message & glad you liked my analogy – it must be the former DJ in me!

        RE: Google stars – I have also found that you do also need some discipline using them, else you have a whole ‘constellation’ going on! (as you have found!) Perfect it isn’t, but a useful tool to use if it fits the way you work.

        Look forward to hearing some more from you again soon!

        Best,

        Grant

    • Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Aha….now it all makes sense…you’re a cd spinner 😉 I think you have hit upon a very key point…DISCIPLINE!

      Danielle

  4. Posted September 12, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink | Reply

    Danielle, I really liked your ideas because they make you think. I can also see how I could apply your ideas to a business plan, and plan to do so myself. Thank you.

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