I don't check email until the afternoon. Here's why.
Without some self-coaching, email can feel really stressful. But it’s just a tool for communication. An amazing tool. In fact, I LOVE email. But it wasn’t always true.
I used to think about my inbox and stress the F out. Which lead to me fully avoiding it like the plague and letting thousands pile up in there.
I’ll say–my role isn’t the captain of daily customer service like I used to be, but I do think it’s important to be able to manage effective communication between the partners and collaborators in my business life. However, because I want to spend less time on my inbox and more time doing other things I love, I set some rules and boundaries and expectations.
Setting up Systems + Understanding why I was so stressed by my inbox
I don’t check email until the same time each afternoon.
When that time arrives, I scan daily for super important stuff and respond to people. I decide what’s essential and then let the rest go until tomorrow.
I’m most creative in the morning and that’s what sets the tone for my entire day. I LOVE writing emails to my team, blog posts for you all, and thinking big about our business. And my brain is so fired up for it in the morning. So I allow myself to do those super important tasks first and then gleefully check my email in the afternoon.
I rarely email my team. Because we have Slack + Asana important stuff goes there, or on our team text (which is where we share hilarious photos of ourselves and talk each other up and coordinate in-the-moment stuff like holiday parties and employee baby showers). I don’t want to compromise communication with the team, but it makes ZERO sense to have all these conversations in email. It’s hard to search and you can’t add people on to the conversation without a struggle. So, slack and asana became primary tools to keep the conversations flowing.
I am cc’d on stuff vial email so it’s amazing to be able to jump in there and reference stuff, but email is just not a place where I want to spend a lot of time. It’s definitely a magically useful tool, and that’s what shapes my relationship to it– NOW. Back in the day it was a different story.
I unsubscribe yearly from anything that’s not bringing me joy or content that I read consistently.
So many places require your email and then you’re opted into their email newsletter systems and that’s cool if it’s stuff that you like spending your time reading. Most of it is just noise to me so I spend a chunk of time yearly unsubscribing to stuff that is not relevant or helpful to my life.
I have folders where I can put important stuff.
I have my inbox attached to my Asana. What’s cool about that is that if it’s an email that should be a separate task, I can immediately assign it to myself and then round back on it when I’ve scheduled it for myself. Some emails will require lots of steps and thinking and usually that’s not what I’m planning to do in my 1-hour a day email timeframe. I’m responding to people, not usually doing the actual work they might be requesting however I DO need to remember to do it. So that’s really helpful.
Before I did self-coaching around it, my inbox represented to me:
all the ways in which I was failing people by not getting back to them immediately
my lack of control over my inbox (why couldn’t I just keep it at zero!?)
my inability to organize properly
people’s disappointment in me (emails are just sitting there unanswered, “just like what people expect from me”)
My inability to time manage perfectly– all the stuff I never had time to get to
A general feeling of “You’re doing it wrong”
With thoughts like that, no wonder my emails began to pile up. When they began piling up, I began to get overwhelmed and that’s honestly never helpful. I started to resent my inbox (poor thing!!!) and I started avoiding it all together. And actually I was like, “I’m not going to be on email,” but that also seems kind of extreme.
I always say, “You’ve got to love it before you leave it,” to anyone who is looking to get out of something– a relationship, an apartment, a city, a job, any situation.
So, how I deal with my email is to love it for what it does first:
allows my team to keep me in the loop
stores important conversations
allows people to create professional relationships with me
allows me to create professional relationships with people
delivers to me: stuff I’ve signed up for that I’m super excited about so I don’t have to even think about it
allows our world to be connected in such a quick, dynamic way
allows me to reach out to the people who really LOVE my business
helps me support my team
And then it was easier to check my email, schedule time to unsubscribe from emails I don’t need, organize and sort and delete. Once I no longer took it personally that my inbox was in need of an overhaul, I was able to jump right in and tackle it and manage it #likeaboss.
Happy Friday, friends!