Episode #111 Tips to Managing Your Bookkeeping Inbox
Join us for another episode of The Bookkeepers' Voice, as Angie Martin is once again joined by our amazing practice manager, Maia Coghlan! This episode will be wrapping up our Organisational Series with a very important topic and one we absolutely love – Email Inbox Management!
Listen in as we share some problems that bookkeepers typically come across (i.e. our inboxes always overflowing with mountains of irritation and stress), to some fabulous solutions that will help you get your email under control and increase productivity. We'll also be sharing our 12 Tricks to Managing Your Bookkeeping Inbox!
Remember, At the end of the day, your emails are just a tool for you to get your tasks done – you shouldn’t be a slave to them!
Key Takeaway: “By getting your email under control you will increase your productivity, decrease your feeling of stress and overwhelm and increase your level of customer satisfaction.”
Host: Angie Martin
Guest speaker: Maia Coghlan
Topic: Tips to Managing Your Bookkeeping Inbox
Summary keywords: email management, inbox management techniques, inbox management strategies, managing your email inbox
Bookkeeping Inbox Management techniques
Table of Contents
Angie Martin 0:02
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to another episode of The bookkeepers voice. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Angie and I'm once again joined by the savvy bookkeepers, amazing practice manager, Maia. Hi, Maia.
Maia Coghlan 0:18
Angie Martin 0:20
So my, over the last couple of weeks we have been going through and chit chatting about all things digital organisation and cloud management. And I think we've come off a little bit of like, nerds to this topic, but it's actually really fun once you get to have a really nice organisation plan for a business.
Maia Coghlan 0:48
Yeah, and it just makes organisation Yeah, and it makes life easier.
Email management to increase organizational productivity
Angie Martin 0:53
Yeah, yeah. So much easier. So to end off our organisation series, I thought we needed to mention kind of the elephant in the room. And that is email inbox management. Which is a major problem for basically any business, but especially bookkeepers because well, okay, first, let me ask some questions to our listeners. And then I'll wonder if everyone can kind of work out why this is such a big problem for bookkeepers. How much how much time do you guys spend managing your emails every day? Do you sometimes keep clicking into your inbox every five minutes? Do you make your email your first priority rather than getting things done? Are there days where you spend more time in your inbox? Rather than doing your actual client work or working on your business?
Maia Coghlan 1:58
And I'd like to add one then, okay. Do you ever start your day? Knowing what you need to get done? check your emails. And then your whole day goes off the rails and you don't get anything done that you'd plan to get done that morning? That's a great question.
Angie Martin 2:18
That's a great question. And I know that happens to a lot of us. As bookkeepers, our inboxes have become overflowing mountains of irritation and stress. So I actually wrote that sentence down because I thought of it when I was playing this episode. And I was like, Oh, I need to remember that. So we have a very interesting way of needing to look at emails. As bookkeepers, we need emails to run our businesses and to manage our client work. That means that sometimes if our clients are being a bit needy, for whatever reason, we can get sucked in, and then that's our days. So instead of with email, instead of it helping us to be more productive, it can actually suck us in and like you mentioned with your question, increase the feeling of overwhelm, because you actually get nothing else done. And it ruins what you were planning for the day. But at the end of the day, we have to remember, our emails are just tools to get the tasks done, that we need to do. It's a tool for us to be productive. We are not slaves to that tool. So this is an ongoing issue. And it's something that we both of us struggle with on a daily basis. We are
Maia Coghlan 3:53
not saying everybody else. Yeah,
Angie Martin 3:54
we are not saying by any means guys that we are perfect at emails. I think managing emails is an ongoing process. And everyone has good days and everyone has bad days. And everyone has that day. Sometimes when they come to work, they look at their email, and there's one email that might take four hours out of your day. Which definitely does happen to us sometimes. Yep. So you need to realise that, yes, that does happen. But it shouldn't happen on a daily basis or weekly basis. It should be like maybe once a week, once a month or something.
Maia Coghlan 4:35
You know another thing that happens Oh,
Angie Martin 4:37
Maia Coghlan 4:39
When you're waiting on information for feedback from multiple different clients for ages, and then they all contact you at the same time. Oh, that's
Angie Martin 4:49
so annoying. That happens all the time.
Maia Coghlan 4:53
Yeah, you weren't heard from some people for weeks or months even and then all of a sudden, everybody just decided it's time to finally get back to you and you're suddenly swamped with all this information. For bookkeepers,
Angie Martin 5:06
it's usually like, end of month end of quarter, bass or end of year where everyone all of a sudden remembers that they need a bookkeeper again. And it all happens at once, and they don't realise that over half of your clients do that same thing that they're doing. And the tasks that they're asking actually can't be done within like, two minutes. They're actually like hour long tasks. So, you know, email is an ongoing issue. But again, we have to remember that it's a tool to help us run our business, it doesn't run our business, we run our business. So what I did today is I kind of wrote how we can find a solution to our emails. And we've, I've also done a list of some tricks for managing your email inbox that we do at the savvy bookkeeper and off the hook. So first and foremost, let's just get it out there. By getting your email under control, you can increase your productivity and decrease your feeling of stress and overwhelm, while increasing your customer satisfaction. That sounds like a very intense word with a lot of productivity, increasing, decreasing stress, overwhelm, oh my gosh, I'm feeling overwhelmed with the concept of it. This
Maia Coghlan 6:42
makes me overwhelmed.
Angie Martin 6:43
Yeah, well, cuz To be honest, email inboxes actually cause a lot of stress for a lot of us like,
Maia Coghlan 6:52
Angie Martin 6:53
I'm one of those people, I like having a zero inbox. I like having no emails in my inbox, I will have some in my start. But I like having a zero inbox. So some days when I come to work, and I have over 100 emails in my inbox, that causes a bit of stress. You know, or if you're one of those people who have something like 1000 emails in your inbox, which just just points out guys don't do that. Just don't do that. If you are one of those people, you look at your inbox, and it's just an ongoing growing issue that is basically the same as if you were to have an ongoing stack of paper that just never goes down on your desk. It just increases it doesn't decrease. And so it's this ongoing stress that you see every day. Thankfully, there are some tricks that can be done to make you more efficient in dealing with your emails, while also helping you change your mindset. Because, again, if you're going on every couple minutes to check your email, you need a mindset change as well. letting you know that if you don't reply back to someone within two minutes of them replying to you, that's okay. It's really Okay guys, they're not expecting you to get back to you right away. And if they are, then maybe they need to change their priorities as well. Because you they aren't your only client, they need a wake up call. But by incorporating processes and routines, you can help stay organised in an avoid the unnecessary amount of time wasting. Because emails can be just like social media and they can suck you in and then hours will go by and you don't know what happened with your day. And also frustration How often do you can you not find that one email you're looking for? That's really important, and you know you have it, but you can't find it anymore. Happens all the time. So we are going to go through today are 11 tricks to managing your bookkeeping inbox. The first one is reframe the way you think about the inbox. Like I said earlier, it's a tool, not your manager. For most of us bookkeepers, we went into becoming bookkeepers and business owners so we could be your own boss. Start thinking of your email as your messaging service. So kind of like a secretary. You will never be able to keep the valued no email. in your inbox, you run a business. So like I said, eat I'm one of those people who like having zero emails. It basically never happens because we have a business and people always need Something that's okay. Like Maya with you and your email box because you deal with us as a team, the soccer team, you deal with off the hook clients, you deal with savvy clients. Do you ever actually get the no email notification? Very often?
Maia Coghlan 10:21
Not very often. But you do. It's always exciting. Yeah. When I do it, so is exciting. Yesterday, I got the set. Yeah. Because I don't just have one email. I have email, same I. I do the savvy at the savvy bookkeeper.com.au. And I also have Maya at the semi bookkeeping currently. And my, my one never, never. Yeah. But the savvy one, sometimes, sometimes. Yesterday, I got it down to one or two, which was amazing. That's exciting. Yeah. Yeah. So it's one of those things that we need. And then I got three more emails.
Yeah, I'm stumped for the day.
Angie Martin 11:08
Yeah, yeah, it's one of those things. And you have to stop thinking that every email that comes in needs to be replied, right away. If you think about, you know, actual messaging service, it is there to leave the messages there. And then action when you can not action as soon as you get it, because then it stops your flow, and you don't get anything done, basically.
Inbox management techniques to save you time
Angie Martin 11:38
So that's tip number one is reef, reframe the way that you think about your inbox, you are its manager, and it's just a tool to help you run your business. Number two, process your email once or twice a day. So this is all about setting time blocking, which you and I love doing. And you know, again, our time blocking between the two of us is constantly evolving and changing to suit our needs, and the client's needs as much as possible. But we still do time blocking you and I, and Amy, and like everyone in the team, basically. But set your time blocks to check your email and stick to them. Which is really important. And then also with the time blocking, which we really go into in our priorities masterclass is we talk about setting time limits as well. So let's say you start your day. And typically my day is I do an hour worth of emails, every single day I come in, so I can reply to urgent emails. And then I go about my day. But I basically try and keep it only for that hour, so that I can still do other things. So if I don't get something done in the hour, the first hour, then I'll do it in my last hour of work. If that makes sense for you guys.
Maia Coghlan 13:11
Angie Martin 13:13
yeah, so my time block is my email time is from nine till 10. I don't know if anyone's noticed, if you've ever tried to book in with me. That's why you can't book in with me is because my email time is from nine till 10. To make sure I can do that. It's my time set. I have one hour to do my emails. And then I stop and I move on. You have something similar to where you check your emails only once in a while you even do you go one further and only check our chats once in a while, don't
Unknown Speaker 13:43
Angie Martin 13:45
Yes. Depending on how we're knowing we are that day.
Maia Coghlan 13:47
Yeah, depending on whether I guess the thing that I'm doing is really interesting or not.
Angie Martin 13:55
Maia Coghlan 13:57
So yeah, for me, it really varies from day to day I I would. So what we say. I mean, I would recommend if you can only check your email once a day. And to do it later in the day. Not first thing, you do it first thing in the morning, then that thing happens that I was talking about before, which is where you have all the stuff that you know you have to do. And then you check your emails and you find out that there's this other stuff and then you do that instead and you didn't do the stuff that you were supposed to do. If you check your email later in the day, it means that you can spend, you know, four hours or more doing the top priority stuff before you start going off on a different track. However, the urge to check your email first thing in the morning is real. That's very,
Angie Martin 14:50
it's addiction. It's like for those people who drink coffee, you need to have your coffee in the morning. Sometimes you need to check
Maia Coghlan 15:00
Yeah, so in an ideal world, we would check our email once a day, like straight after lunch. I check my email first thing in the morning was the first thing that I do and I still up. And sometimes that's fine. If there are very few emails or nothing that needs to be actioned straightaway, and sometimes it ruins my day.
Angie Martin 15:24
Yes. So, which is when you sit down and go check this until?
Maia Coghlan 15:30
Exactly. So I have got into a habit of checking my email first thing in the morning. But sometimes, I mean, my justification for it is that sometimes there are agent things in my emails, yeah. Like invoicing issues, or
Angie Martin 15:50
tech issues or issues, to their membership. And that needs to be actioned.
Maia Coghlan 15:56
And that's all my stuff that I do. So if there is that kind of thing, that I have to deal with that as soon as possible. But there has to be some kind of line that you draw between what is an urgent response, email and what is not? And if it's not, then it does, you need to not do it.
Angie Martin 16:26
Yeah. And that's why I have I really use in Gmail, you have like a star system, where for me, because I deal so much with clients, and, you know, checking clients homework, checking in to see how everyone's doing, I, a lot of what I do is actually emailing you guys, our listeners in helping you. So I do do that priority where I check my email at nine o'clock. But then I really do a limit of actually actioning my email box until 10. And then I go and do my follow ups. So my emails and my follow up sometimes can tend to merge into one. But I only actually reply to emails from the day before until 10. And then I just go into what I was planning on doing after 10. Because I know if I don't, then I'm not going to get my follow ups done. And then I'm not going to get my work done. Which you know, you have to if you do, I think the rule should be if you do have your time block to check your emails in the morning, you have to have time on it. Um, and sometimes on days that I know we're going to be really, really big days, I actually took put an alarm on my phone so that it goes off, I have a really annoying alarm, which really aggravates me, and that's my alarm to say, Okay, stop, because you have too much on today to keep going. Because, you know, sometimes my follow ups alone can take five hours. If I let my emails go over the hour, then, like you said, I'm not going to get anything done. So yeah, in our priorities masterclass, we said that you know, the best time is to do after lunch. That way, you get a good chunk of your day being super productive. You have a break, you can stop, go away. Be nice and relaxed, and then check your email and then action anything later in the afternoon.
Maia Coghlan 18:40
And if you don't have lunch, you don't have to check your emails.
Angie Martin 18:44
Well, yeah, but they should be having lunch.
Maia Coghlan 18:47
Don't tell them. That was a joke.
Angie Martin 18:54
No, no, we have lunch.
Maia Coghlan 18:58
I think yeah, if you can just check it once a day, check it once a day in the afternoon. Otherwise, I think the best way is to have a time limit on on time limit on it in the morning, and set some kind of Priority Ranking for the types of emails that you do need to like, you'll know what kinds of emails you get regularly, and some of them will be things that you do actually have to respond to straightaway. Or take some action on straightaway. And some of them weren't. Yeah, if you predetermine what those categories are, then you can just action. The most important ones first thing in the morning, and then in the afternoon. After you've gotten the bulk of your important stuff done for the day. You can go back and deal with the lower priority emails.
Angie Martin 19:57
Yeah, and that's to be honest, that's typically what I do. Because there are some emails that I get that I don't need to action right away. Yeah, those ones usually get no stars, the ones that are super urgent get the in Google, you have a in Gmail, you have like a red exclamation mark. Yep, they get those. And then in between get just the yellow star. And so by the end of the day, my goal is always to have anything that has a star or an exclamation mark done. And then if I don't get the other ones done, then they'd go into a star for the next day.
Maia Coghlan 20:35
Yep. Yeah, I think that's how I do it as well. I don't really use the stars, but I'll leave it visual, visual, I leave it. I leave it unread. If I know it's something that I haven't, yes, responded to. So in the morning, I'll do the most important ones. And then I don't actually do it straight after lunch, I do it after I've finished the bulk of my work for the day. So, which is usually about an hour after I come back from lunch. And then I'll go back in, and I'll do all the rest of the emails that I can do at that point in time. If they're important. If they're not even that important, then I'll leave it for them for some of the time. Yeah,
Angie Martin 21:14
- And number three, the tip number three is actually really important. And this is I do this every single morning, it's the first thing I do in my email box, deleting. We all have emails that we never need to read, we never need to open, they're not so much junk mail, but they're just emails you don't need to open and waste time on. So first thing in the morning or first thing in your time block. After lunch, whenever you do it, go through and delete things that you don't need to have in your inbox. Don't waste space, it's the same concept of if you have a desk full of paper, throw out all the paper that
Maia Coghlan 21:59
you don't need. It's or at least if it's something from a client that you may need violet, archive it or put it in a folder, which we're going to talk about. Yeah, so you don't have to delete it. But get it out of your inbox.
Angie Martin 22:16
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, do it first. Do it the first thing because then sometimes, you know, we use HubSpot as our CRM and so sometimes I come into the office, and I have 30 reminders and HubSpot, which they don't need to be answered. They need to remind me of things for that day. But they don't need to be opened. They don't need to be answered. So first thing I do is I delete them. Because they've done their job, they've reminded me, and now they can go away.
Maia Coghlan 22:51
We get a lot of emails from different software that we use, yes. notifying us like a couple of them send us a weekly report, or sometimes even a daily report, hey, honestly, some of them, I've turned off as many as I can. Some of them, I can't figure out how to turn it off. So that's the best thing that gets deleted anything that you can like, if you're not going to look at it straightaway. And the report itself can be found in the software, if you do need to look at it. Email gets deleted, not archived or deleted, if you can access the same information from somewhere else that's more relevant than your inbox. Delete.
Angie Martin 23:39
Maia Coghlan 23:40
great away. Every every morning, I have at least like 10 emails that I can't delete because I can't figure out how to turn it off.
Angie Martin 23:47
I know so frustrating. I hate it when they do that. But after you delete it as well, your inbox always looks so much more manageable. Which is why I said earlier if you're one of the people that have like 1000 2000 emails in your inbox, if you actually just went through and let's face it, if you have that many half of them bring probably did be deleted.
Let's face it, guys. But if you actually clear out archive and file, it helps your anxiety and stress levels for your days when you start work and look at your inbox.
Maia Coghlan 24:27
On the flip side of that if you have got 2000 emails in your inbox, the idea of tackling that can be more stressful than just having it and dealing with it. So don't think of it as one huge mega task that needs to be tackled and is super overwhelming. Just set aside 10 minutes a day to do as much as you can on your backlog of emails and and that's it eventually you'll get there.
Angie Martin 24:58
Yeah, which leads me into To our next trick, which is use the one minute rule. Now, my partner uses this every single day, because he gets about two to 300 emails a day. Well, yeah, it's ridiculous. So he does email me really intensely, because it would just get out of control very quickly. So he does the one minute rule, which is read only the emails that are relevant to your day. And then if you can action them within one minute, do it right away. So what that means is basically, if you go in, read an email that you know is gonna be important for today. And you know, it's something as simple as sending an invoice or replying back to them anything that can be done within like that one minute mark, do it before you go on to the next email. So then it's out of your email inbox, you don't have to worry about it later on. And you can move on with your day. If it takes more than a minute. That's when you might need to mark it as unread again. So you can action it later, like Maya does, or with me use your star system and go Okay, well, this is not urgent, so I'm just going to leave it or it's kind of urgent, do the star or it's really urgent, I need to do this right away, and then do the exclamation mark. If you can't actually it within that one minute. Leave it for later. Because right now you're just checking your emails, if you can. Awesome, get rid of it, action it. It saves a lot of time.
Maia Coghlan 26:40
Typically, my thing is, if
Angie Martin 26:41
you can do it on your phone, it's a one minute email. Yeah, that's usually my my thing. If you can easily action it right on your phone. That's a one minute email that you can do right away. The next one is one that we've already mentioned a little bit, is organise your inbox with labels, folders and categories, and set up inbox rules and filters so that they can automatically go into those folders, so you can check them when you need to check them. Now, do you do much of this? No.
Maia Coghlan 27:24
I do with my personal emails. Yeah,
Angie Martin 27:26
I was gonna say I'm pretty sure you do it with your personal. Yeah,
Maia Coghlan 27:28
yeah, I do have folders for my personal emails, just the specific things like payslips and stuff that I need to keep for tax time and that kind of thing. Yeah, for savvy. No, I don't. But I should. Yeah, I was gonna say sitting here thinking about all the things that I
Angie Martin 27:50
say. And that's why we're not saying we're perfect at this, we're saying that we are always working towards being better at it. So again, I actually don't use this tip for savvy, but I use it for other clients emails and my business email in my personal email. So I might relate it to my my business email, my personal business, any invoices, any sales that come through the website, they go automatically into my manufacturing folder, my sampling folder, my sales folder, anything like that, I don't need to look at it. It's an invoice that I'm keeping for tax time. I've obviously made the purchase. I know how much it was, it can just go in and then I do I do basically what Sharon does is every end of month, I get all of my tax stuff already. So that anytime like I can just it's already done. So I don't have to spend a lot of time at the end of the year anything. So all of those invoices and stuff go into the folder and it's a filters guys. So what happens is when you use a filter or rule soon as it comes into EMA box, it doesn't stay in your inbox, it goes directly into that folder that you need it to go into. So I actually note we have some savvy clients who are subscribers to the podcast or in our blog. And what they do is they have a savvy folder in their inbox. So every time they get that it goes directly in their savvy folder. So then when they're working on the business development, they go directly to that folder. So it doesn't clog up their inbox because it's stuff that they do want to review and do. But it goes directly to the folder for when they can focus on it. which is handy. But are you thinking she's got to thinking face on travelling when he can't see her in the podcast.
Maia Coghlan 29:55
I don't know if I like the idea of it not coming into my inbox, but
Angie Martin 30:01
You can see that there's an unread email though in the folders.
Maia Coghlan 30:05
But my system, I would have to change my system, because if there's something that I still need to action, my strategy is to just leave it unread. Yeah, so then I would have all these unread emails already in the folders. And then when I get a new one, it would also be unread. And how would I know that it was new if I keeping track of all the numbers? Yeah,
Angie Martin 30:27
so you would probably need to redo your I'd write a whole new
Maia Coghlan 30:31
Angie Martin 30:32
Yeah, see, I don't like keeping things as unread. Because in my organisation, typically, if it's unread, it actually unread. And that means that I haven't been keeping up with my inbox, because I hate a really high on read number. I'm one of those people, it gives me anxiety.
Maia Coghlan 30:52
You know what this reminds me of, um, a lot of our clients use carbon. And doesn't, I could be wrong, but doesn't carbon, import your emails, insult them by clients or something,
Angie Martin 31:07
you can set it up to do that. And so I was gonna say, my partner, because he gets so many. He does that with his clients as well, where he goes through them, and he doesn't look at them every day. But he just leaves it kind of goes, they go into the client folder. So he knows the client has emailed them. But it doesn't jumble up his actual email box, which again, is his tool for running his business, not just working in his business. So he just gets it out. So he does the same thing where if there's something on Red Bull, it needs to be actioned, it needs to be categorised, if it's urgent, not urgent, if someone else can do it, that kind of thing. So there's a couple different ways you can do it. But it's one tool that you can use is the filters to clear out your inbox kind of thing.
Maia Coghlan 32:03
You can also I don't know if you've got this coming up at all, but I guess it kind of fits in with this topic is if you similar to carbon if you don't use carbon, but you use a different project management software. Like we use teamwork. there's a there's a browser extension where you can actually for like a gmail extension where you can create a task in your project management app from directly from Gmail. Yes. So when you get an email, instead of opening it, or you can open it, read it. And then you can just click the button at the top that says you know the name of your project management app. And you can create a task, add a little note for yourself, send a due date for it, and then it's made deal with it on the day when you need to deal with it.
Angie Martin 33:02
Yeah, I use it all the time for multiple different businesses. And yeah, you're right. It's a great way of tying both systems together. Yeah, highly suggest that for bookkeepers and I think we mentioned that last episode as well, didn't we?
Maia Coghlan 33:21
Yeah, yeah, we did. We did. We had heard about it recently. It must have been last episode.
Angie Martin 33:26
Yeah. So that is a really good tool. And I'm so in my browser, because I use clickup. I use teamwork. I use HubSpot. I can actually make the tasks from my email into all of them. Which is really, really handy. And you can even do Google Sheets from your emails as well. Which is pretty cool. I found out the other day. Yeah, you have to get it's another downloadable edition like out onto your browser. I just found it. Yes, that's cool. Yes. Like it was a mistake. Actually.
Maia Coghlan 34:10
That's something that again, we don't do it perfectly. And that's definitely something that I should do more often. I don't and I don't know why. But if I created tasks from my emails, instead of leaving them as unread, then I could get rid of the email he. Yeah, I should actually use that more often.
Inbox management strategies – Creating templates
Angie Martin 34:27
Yes. Great tip. Great tip for everyone. My next one is something that we have talked about multiple times and something that we're really big at Safi. Oh, yeah, is use templates. Stop writing the same thing over and over guys. Just stop. It saves you so much time by just having a template. It's crazy.
Maia Coghlan 34:56
I've got a little trick as well. Yes. If you say An email to someone, and you know that it's something that you're going to need to turn into a template because multiple people are going to ask this question. Do the tip from the last tip, and use your email to create a task to create a template later.
Angie Martin 35:23
Love it, love it now. And it's so handy like, on any given day, some days, I will send over 100 emails as follow ups to clients. I care about all of our clients. But guys, I can tell you, most of them are all done by templates. And it's not because I don't care, it's that I want to make sure that I can get to all of our clients. And I do personalise every single email. But it's still off of a specific template that is about what we're talking about.
Maia Coghlan 36:01
And to be honest, a lot of people require the same information anyway.
Angie Martin 36:06
Exactly. And it just, it saves so much time. I'm always about you know, if it saves you 30 seconds or a minute in writing one email. Imagine how much time that adds up. So for me, I say 30 seconds, when I'm doing 100 emails, that 30 seconds really adds up. So imagine if you take a bit longer, because I do write emails very quickly. Let's say it takes you five minutes to write an email back to a client. If you do just, let's say three of those emails a day, that's 15 minutes a day, five days a week, imagine how much time you'll save. It's great use templates. And because we're so passionate about this, I've even started to share some of my templates with you guys on our website. So now we have email templates that you can just grab and then use
Maia Coghlan 37:05
and you great summarise them to your business and then save them in your whatever email app you use. And
Angie Martin 37:13
it's awesome. Give it a go guys, you start loving it.
Maia Coghlan 37:17
Angie Martin 37:19
I promise. My next tip is squeeze in mindless email tasks and downtime. So I do this a lot as well. So sometimes when I have really big call days, I spend a lot of time sitting there listening to the ringtone. So sometimes I will have my email up, while I'm waiting for the ringtone. And I will do little mindless tasks in my email box, like filing and organising if I haven't been doing it properly, which that happens to all of us.
Maia Coghlan 38:00
Sure does. It does.
Angie Martin 38:01
And it it you know, again, it's only you know, typically three rings, but three rings times, let's say 30 calls a day. But that's up and you get some stuff done. Yeah. And I know sometimes you do mindless tasks during I know you do it sometimes during our co working sessions, but I'm talking to you. And you don't have to listen to me. Yes. When do you do when else do you do some mindless email tasks
Maia Coghlan 38:36
when you're multitasking? It's not just email tasks, but I'll do other mindless things like you know, just any kind of copy and paste admin time is basically anything that requires clicking and no brain can be done. Yeah, yeah.
Angie Martin 38:58
It's just really handy.
Maia Coghlan 39:00
Angie Martin 39:00
I didn't do it during QA like I night. Everyone else does, too, sometimes, because I'll ask you a question. Maybe.
Maia Coghlan 39:09
You're talking to me? Yeah. Yeah, the other. The other time that I would do that we were actually just talking about this before is if you're watching, like a webinar or something or learning, and, you know, they're talking about something that's maybe a little bit off topic or doesn't need your full attention. Just be filing in the background. Yeah.
Angie Martin 39:33
And that's, you know, I'm planning on doing that today. I have a webinar that I think is supposed to go for an hour and a half. And I already know a lot about this topic, but I want to make sure that I'm really up to speed with all the new things. So I'm planning on using my two screens. One I'm going to be doing some mindless filing tasks, and then I'm still going to have my full attention to the PA To the actual webinar, but on things that I already know, I'm just going to do some little mindless things. And for people who have the 2000 emails in your inbox, oh, that's a great time, you can take that time to go through and do you know, focus on just doing one page. Yeah, organising one page on your email it, once you do that little bit every little while, then you'll have a beautiful inbox.
Maia Coghlan 40:26
Another great time. One of the probably the main time that I do that kind of thing is, if I have miraculously done everything that I needed to do today, well, I've done most, I've just finished a big thing. And the next thing that I would work on would also take a lot of time, but it's just before lunch, or it's just before I'm finishing for the day. And I've got maybe 10 minutes, maybe 20 minutes, maybe an hour. And I don't want to start on another big thing. So I just do some filing for like 20 minutes, and
Angie Martin 41:04
I do the same and it makes you feel really accomplished at the end of the day when you finish off doing it that way.
Maia Coghlan 41:11
Yeah, it also makes the next day when you begin so much more relaxing, because all this stuff is now organised.
Creating searchable email subjects for managing your email inbox
Angie Martin 41:20
Agreed, agreed. Our next tip is create searchable email subjects. So this is when you are emailing a client. And just like you would when we were talking about the other day, in the last episode, how we were talking about naming conventions for your documents, you do naming conventions in your email subjects. This way you can easily find when they reply to you, and it's filed in a folder, you can easily find where it is because you can just search what should be searched. Like maybe the clients name and then the financial year and the bass or something like that you can easily find it, it helps you and helps them as well, because they can easily read the subject know exactly what you're going to be talking about. Open it action it, file it, they can find it later. And you can find it later. It makes things really handy.
Maia Coghlan 42:31
I like that. And I love it when it works. Sometimes it doesn't work, because they'll reply to you but with a different email threads, then it's broken up into five different email threads. And you have to try and figure out which section of it was the rut that really bugs me. Yeah.
Angie Martin 42:52
So this one is a thing that works if both people do it. Yeah.
Maia Coghlan 42:58
Try it. It might work. It might not work. If it does work, it's going to be great. If it doesn't work. Oh, well, at least. Right, exactly. The other thing that makes that a bit more difficult for me is sometimes I'll get an email from the client. And then I have to email Angie to ask about something before I email back the client. And then I have this email with Angie and this email client and I have to try and reply to like the right person.
Angie Martin 43:26
I was nervous about all that.
Maia Coghlan 43:29
Sometimes I end up emailing myself instead by accidentally hitting reply too many times.
Angie Martin 43:37
No, it's it's definitely if it works awesome. But it's definitely one that this is an ongoing thing to work on. But that started, actually,
Maia Coghlan 43:49
really last week. Last week, I accidentally emailed myself instead of a client. And then I emailed her again. I was like, yeah, so I sent this email to me and he didn't get it.
Angie Martin 44:02
Oh, that's funny. And that does happen when you get in so many chains.
Maia Coghlan 44:07
Yes. I don't think there's a way to like this chain thing, but sometimes you just want to get out. Yeah, if it's for smaller things that aren't going to be a huge, long thread. Or if everybody's like sending reports
Angie Martin 44:21
like sending reports, for example. Um, you know, typically you can send the report with your meeting link if it's going to have a meeting, but actually say what it is so that you can search it later.
Maia Coghlan 44:33
Angie Martin 44:35
The next one is like the next one. Yeah. are really, yeah, well, I'm really good at it. Sometimes, some days, I'm gonna be very honest. Some days I'm really onto it and some days I'm not so the tip is turn off notifications in close your email tab to focus on your actual work. In this way, email can be non existent while you were trying to do your work.
Maia Coghlan 45:08
I think I know what the argument against this would be. That if you're working on something for a client, you need to have your email open so you can access the information that's in your emails, but counter-argument create the task in your project management app from email. So all the information from the email is in your project management task. And then you don't have your email open when you're doing your tasks.
Angie Martin 45:40
Yes, and I would go one step further. So days that I do this, I have our CRM HubSpot open. So I can still access the client's information without actually looking at my inbox. So I do it one step further. And you know what, guys? It works.
Maia Coghlan 46:00
Yeah, really days when I turn the emails off completely. They're good days.
Angie Martin 46:05
Yeah. And I'm also talking about turning the emails off notifications off on your phone, and on your computer. Because if you turn off from your computer, but not your phone, your phone is still telling you you're getting emails that's still distracting, if not more distracting, than when it's on your actual computer. So you have to do both. And time block it to do it on your phone.
Maia Coghlan 46:31
Yes, my work emails, I have them come through to my phone. But there's no notifications on them. Yes, the same app, because it's with Gmail, it's the same app where I have my personal Gmail. So if I go into the app, it always just shows me my personal one, I have to switch out of it to go to the savvy one. So I only
Angie Martin 46:52
actively wanting to check the Exactly,
Maia Coghlan 46:54
exactly. If I don't want to check my savvy email on my phone. I don't know that it's even there. Exactly. But if I do need to check it on my phone, then I can. But it's much it's exactly it helped me to do it.
Angie Martin 47:08
It really is amazing how much more focused you can be and more productive you can be when you're not getting those notifications. Because again, just because you get an email doesn't need to mean you need to reply right away.
Maia Coghlan 47:24
But it does distract you right away. Did you see that little red icon come up the top?
Angie Martin 47:30
Yes, absolutely. The next tip is one that is super easy. And again can be a mindless task. But many of us forget to do it quite often is going through and emptying your junk mail or trash. So
Maia Coghlan 47:50
Gmail do this automatically. After 30 days. It does. But
Angie Martin 47:55
for us sometimes important emails, like for me anyways, sometimes for some reason or another, our clients emails have been flagged as junk. And so it goes into trash. Though all I have to actively check it once a week.
Maia Coghlan 48:11
Yeah, that's a good point. Actually, if you delete something, I know I think in Outlook, I'm not sure about Gmail. But in Outlook, if you delete an email from your junk mail folder, it's permanently deleted. It doesn't go to trash. So not just check your trash. But check your junk mail folder specifically or spam folder.
Angie Martin 48:37
Maia Coghlan 48:38
that is a good point. Because some of our client emails have been going to spam like,
Angie Martin 48:42
yep, for some reason I and I don't know why. And it's always the really important reply that they're like, Why haven't you gotten back to me? I'm like, I don't know what you're talking about. And then I check my junk. I'm like, Ah, that's what you're talking about. Yeah, so it does. I don't know why it does that either. But I do. I have been noticing it's been getting a bit worse. So I check it. I used to only check it once a month. But now I check it once a week. And again, it's one of those tasks I do when I'm waiting on the phone. It's a very easy thing to check it, then I empty it. It makes it very easy. So that way you don't miss a really important email, just in case. My last tip is unsubscribe. This is a big line guys. And this is also usually the reason why people have the 2000 plus emails is you have an unsubscribe to emails. Yeah. Just a reminder, your business email is for business.
Maia Coghlan 49:53
I am ruthless that unsubscribing for things
Angie Martin 49:56
I always say ruthless. So I actually wrote down in My notes be ruthless, ruthlessly unsubscribe.
Maia Coghlan 50:04
Yeah. be ruthless about it. If you I mean, I sign up for all kinds of things. Like, I want to get this checklist about this random thing. And so of course, you have to give your email to be able to do that. And then they start emailing you every day. And it's like, well, your checklist wasn't actually that helpful. I already knew all of the stuff, your content in your emails isn't great unsubscribe, immediately. If or if somebody if you're getting emails from some, whatever, some business regularly and you don't open them, or you don't read them, or you don't care about what the contents are, unsubscribe,
Angie Martin 50:50
subscribe. I'm one of those people, I have a rule in my house that if I don't wear a piece of clothing, if I don't use something in a year, I get rid of it.
Maia Coghlan 51:00
Yeah, that's just a thing.
Angie Martin 51:02
I have a similar rule with my emails, if I don't refer to an email, that's a subscription email, and a month to three months, one quarter, I unsubscribe because it typically means I'm never going to do it. If I don't do it once a quarter, you're not going to do it, guys just unsubscribe.
Maia Coghlan 51:23
Sometimes I'll read them and they're just not useful. Yeah. And eventually, am I
Angie Martin 51:29
just wasting subscribe, you can always re subscribe if you change in the future. Or like some of our savvy members. You can put it in a folder and then check it when you want to. I do that with some of mine. Because, yeah, I have a lot of subscriptions in my personal for personal development and business development. I do on my own time. And I do that when I have time. I'm not looking at it every week. So I just have that filter where it goes in. And then when I have time I look at it. Simple, but I get it out of my inbox. If you aren't gonna do that, though. Just unsubscribe, though.
Maia Coghlan 52:13
Yeah. Awesome. So you won't mind? Yeah,
Angie Martin 52:17
yeah. So this is basically our tips. So I thought I'd go through because we actually added a tip that I forgot to put in that Maya added in. So it's 12 tips, just to do our round in a recap. Tip number one, reframe the way you think about your inbox. Number two, process your email once or twice a day. Number three, delete first. Number four, use the one minute rule number five, organise your inbox with labels, folders and categories. Number six, create tests directly from your inbox. Number seven, use templates. Number eight, squeeze in mindless email tasks and downtime. Number nine, create searchable email subjects. Number 10. turn off notifications and close email tabs to focus 11 empty your trash and check your junk mail spam periodically. And the big number 12. On subscribe. Do you have anything else that you think we should add into there?
Maia Coghlan 53:34
Um, if you get emails from a place where you don't want to get any email emails from anymore, and they don't have an unsubscribe button on their email, yes, because this happens to email them. Yes, just reply to the email and say I want to unsubscribe and there is no unsubscribe button. Please unsubscribe me?
Angie Martin 53:53
Yes. Because that does happen to you a lot with a lot of the subscriptions of like running a bookkeeping business actually, isn't it? It's usually the bookkeeping subscriptions.
Maia Coghlan 54:03
Yeah. We were getting some emails from receipt bank, and I couldn't figure out how to do them all.
Angie Martin 54:12
Love it. Beautiful. I've added that to the list. So when we create the blog that will be available for everyone in our actual blog. database resource database in our website. If you guys do want to have the blogs continually sent to you, you can sign up and if it gets annoying, put it in a folder you can check it later. Like we just taught you. But we will be doing a blog with that and we will be writing all of these tips in the blogs so that you guys can easily access it every once in a while. Like we mentioned in the last episode, these are a lot of tips. You don't need to do them all at once. Try one and see how it goes. And then try the next one and see how it goes. Like we said We aren't perfect email management. We're constantly working on it. So go through these and start actioning them and see how it goes. If something doesn't work for you, like the one, the folders, one doesn't really work for Maya the way that she does them, then don't do it. Do another way of organising things. Yeah, just
Maia Coghlan 55:24
Yep. Play around with things and see what you like and see what you don't like. Yeah, have fun. There's always a way to make it easier. Yes, you just have to figure out what it is for you.
Angie Martin 55:34
Agreed? Agreed. So what I'm going to be doing for this podcast podcast, a podcast episode, if I can speak is in our actual description on our savvy web site of this podcast episode, I am going to be including the pricing, I'm sorry, not pricing, the priorities masterclass, which is all about the time blocking. And we talk a lot about that. The email blocking and management in that masterclass as well. So I'd highly suggest to check that out. I'll also have links to all of our email templates, which are super handy to minimise all of your work with your emails, and then have some extra blogs and podcasts that Maya have done has done in the past in regards to, you know, having bookkeeping, performance goals that will help and coincide with email management as well. So lots of little gifts for you in that this episode. But yeah, you know, just remember, your email box is a tool, don't let it run your life. And don't let it become such an anxiety issue that every day you look at it, and you start feeling overwhelmed. Find out what it is, is making you feel overwhelmed about your email box, see what tip can be done to help minimise it and then work on it.
Maia Coghlan 57:00
Like I always say, or at least for the last few episodes, I've said, Don't think you have to try to implement all of these things. At the same time. Pick one thing?
Angie Martin 57:10
Maia Coghlan 57:11
Do that one thing, see if it works, see if it doesn't try to find a way to make it work for you. And then pick something else? Just one thing at a time?
Angie Martin 57:19
Absolutely. What is like out of these ones? What is the one thing you're gonna work on?
Maia Coghlan 57:30
I'm definitely going to start creating tasks from emails, the one tip that I added to do and I really,
Angie Martin 57:42
that's why you added it because you know, it needs to be done.
Maia Coghlan 57:45
Yeah, so I'm going to start doing that. And I think if I do that, then I can also implement the folders. Yes, I won't have to have unread emails to remind me, I create a task from them. And then I can use folders. So there'll be the two and in that order, start creating tasks for my emails. And then I'm going to look into using the folders a bit better.
Angie Martin 58:11
Yeah, already do a couple of these. But what I'm going to do is definitely work on the tasks, because a lot of the things are tasks that I can put in our client relationship app as well like our CRM, and in our actual task management app, so I'm going to work on doing the tasks directly from the email box, instead of sometimes I manually do it, or anything like that. And that again, that's just wasting time. So that's definitely going to be my
Maia Coghlan 58:44
my birth gonna work on the same thing.
Angie Martin 58:46
Yeah. Yeah. Funny. That is awesome. So a good tip. I would, it's a good tip, Maya. So I would love to know what you guys are going to work on from this episode as well. So please feel free to email us and let us know because it's definitely something everyone always needs to work on it. So it'd be really interesting to see what is the top priority for everyone as well to see also if we're all in the same boat or not. So hope you guys have like this organisation series that we've just finished. As always, it is going to be in blogs version as well, so that you can actually use the blog and you know, have more written ways of all the tips that we've been talking about. And if you guys have any questions or you want us to go further into one of the topics or anything like that, feel free to email us savvy at the savvy bookkeeper.com to a you you get Maya right away. And then we can
Maia Coghlan 59:49
add if I'm being naughty and having my emails open during the day you hit me right away.
Angie Martin 59:53
Yes, yes. And we will be able to work it in and create an episode for you Since we do this all for our listeners, awesome. Thank you so much for joining me again. Maya. I love having you. Joining me makes me feel so alone. I know it's
Maia Coghlan 1:00:11
always fun, especially when we get to nerd out.
Angie Martin 1:00:14
Yes, Agreed. Agreed. We're very good at it. Beautiful. Well, I hope everyone has a fantastic day. And yet, make sure you join our Facebook group I heart bookkeeping, and tell us what what tip from today's episode is going to be the one you're working on first. Until next time, though, stay safe, sane and savvy.