Email management is a major source of overwhelm for many solo business owners; I only have to read my new subscriber notices every day to know this! When I asked my subscribers what their biggest office headache is email is right up there with the rest of them! Comments such as:

"Emails - yikes!"

"Responding to emails"

"Managing email"

"Emails overload"

Sound familiar?

By cleaning up the flow of emails into your Inbox, you can then improve the flow of your business, and spend your time productively!

Below I am going to share with you my top 7 tips for effectively managing your email so that you can break out of your email jail.

1. Emails aren't urgent! Don't feel you have to read and act upon your email the second it hits your inbox. You don't! It isn't urgent. If there was a real emergency then your client/colleague/friend would call you.

2. Are all those newsletters you subscribe to really necessary? Probably not! If this is the case spend some time going through them and unsubscribing the ones you don't really want or read.

3. Does your email play distracting alerts, i.e. a sound? If so, disable it. This is a distraction and you could quite easily stop what you're working on to go and check your emails. It will then take you some time to get back on track again, not to mention the amount of time you've just lost stopping what you were doing, reading your emails, and actioning them.

4. Schedule set times to check your emails. Once or twice a day is enough, say first thing in the morning and again later in the day. If you subscribe to various industry groups save reading these emails until you take a break from your work - maybe at the end of the day when you're winding down. You can easily get sidetracked reading all the different topics and replying to them, all of which is taking you away from your paid work.

5. Utilize email filtering tools. Set up folders and filters so that your email gets sent to the appropriate folder as soon as it arrives. This makes organizing and reading your emails a cinch. You can then decide where to focus your time on reading your emails. For example, all emails that have gone into your networking groups folder you can save those to read later, but emails that have gone into your Clients folder you can act on straight away.

6. Create email templates to save time. If you're finding you are responding to the same questions over and over again, create an email template. Next time you get asked the same or similar question, simply open your email template, add the person's email address, and hit send!

7. Run AutoArchive regularly. If your email software comes with an autoarchiving feature you need to run this regularly - at least once a month - so that your email folder doesn't become too large. And let's face it, do you really need to keep emails that are more than six months old?

If you follow these 7 tips above, you will find you are spending less time worrying about and checking your emails, and more time on being productive! That has got to be better for your bottom line.

(c) 2008 Tracey Lawton

Author's Bio: 

About the author: Office Organization Expert, Tracey Lawton, teaches professional speakers, coaches, and authors how to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business. Learn how to create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free how-to articles at