Inbox Zero: Are you being PROACTIVE or REACTIVE?

July 26, 2017

Here's a fun little fact about me: I LOVE it when my email inbox is empty. In fact, I even send screen shots of my inbox to my friends who immediately tell me to get a life. But let's talk about WHY having the goal of Inbox Zero might not be the best way to operate...and how to effectively tackle your emails.



In truth, living on a quest to achieve Inbox Zero is actually living a reactive life.   Being proactive is YOU setting your own priorities, using The Intentional Advisor Business Journal to outline the day you want to have.


Responding to everyone who emails you within a set number of minutes is living according to someone else's agenda.   A LOT of someone else's. 


But, like it or not, email is a part of our lives. So let's develop a plan for getting closer to Inbox Zero...on YOUR terms.


Limit Output


Unsubscribe to useless emails like it is your job.  Don't give out your business card at events advertising freebees. That will just mean stolen minutes down the road. 




If you look at my inbox, you will see folders.  I use these ruthlessly.  I respond and then dump.  Those folders roughly coincide with the different areas of my business.


a.      Clients

b.      Potential Clients

c.       Key Partners

d.      Marketing

e.      Finance

f.       Technology

g.      Compliance

h.      Learning

i.        Organizations

j.        Travel/Events




Because not everything is your job.  I forward all relevant emails to my team and then file them accordingly.  I expect them to get it done.  I don’t micro manage them.  But they also know the standard.  You don't get to ignore or lose emails. 


Hand off scheduling of any kind of meeting


This requires going back and forth so many times, I can't be bothered.  Hand off the task altogether to a staff member and they can let you know when it has been scheduled.  Some of you will tell me to use a scheduling link.  I will someday do a vlog about why I hate scheduling links! 


Leave only actionable things in the inbox


This is how I get to 10 or less emails in my inbox most days.  The last 5 or so are actually from me to me.  Things I need to do.  I don't like managing a bunch of lists in a bunch of places.  I actually use my inbox as my to do list. So, when I get to 0…it means I am really to 0 tasks.  And that feels so luxurious! 


Recently an advisor friend of mine told me that she actually maintains a second address that both she and her office manager monitor.  She trains staff to use that for most communication, so that it can be handled swiftly even if the advisor is occupied in meetings, etc.  I haven't done this myself.  We train our staff to include my Relationship Manager for pretty much everything.  But I like the idea of the separate email.


Can you make it to Inbox Zero? Of course you can! And it's all part of building your practice with PURPOSE.


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