Email tip: Utilizing Gmail + the "Zeroed-Inbox" Strategy!

Ashley Lester Photography

Ashley Lester Photography

Happy Friday!!! I wanted to drop in today to share a quick "productivity" tip with you. First- I have a confession to make. I have FIVE EMAIL ADDRESSES that I maintain. Yikes. Even typing that is scary-sounding. 1 is my "promos email", so the one I go to when I'm searching for the latest J. Crew coupon. 2 is my school email, that I use as a teacher to communicate with other teachers and parents. 3 is my biz email. 4 is my "professional but non-business" email. So I use this one for things like communicating with my family and friends. 5 is my old college email- which I know I'm crazy to hold onto, but every now and then I get an email on there!!

 As I get into the explanation of my email tip- quickly think about these 3 questions:

Do you find it difficult to manage all your emails across different accounts?

Do you find it mentally exhausting to handle keeping your email inbox organized?

What is your general system and time-frame for answering emails?

If you answered "yes" to any of these- I really hope this post will give you some new ideas!!

I used to get very easily confused and wrapped up in "email land." I used the "Mail" app on my iPhone, and I hated constantly juggling accounts and having to use Safari to check lesser-used emails. Several months ago, I decided to make the switch to using Gmail as my email organizer- particularly for my business, and I am SO glad I did!! I am constantly on the go, and I feel like I work a lot off of my phone. The Gmail app makes it super easy to toggle back and forth between 5 accounts, with one click, and it allows me to easily place emails in different folders WITH color-coding!! As a visual person, this just makes me verrrrry happy :) So- my first tip is to install the Gmail App!!

Once I made the Gmail switch, I began to file all my emails into their color-coded folders, and I was THRILLED with the results. I decided to create folders to encompass each area of my business- so: "CIE Brides", "Bride Inquiries", "Styled Shoots", "Floral Design and Ordering", "CIE Education", "Archived", ect. So now, when I receive an email, it will sit in my general "inbox" until I respond- and then it immediately gets filed into its folder!! So, at the end of the day, I can quickly scan my inbox, check out the color codes, and I feel like everything is under control since everything *hopefully* is filed! It's awesome to cut back on "email overwhelm", and as soon as someone sends a reply back- it pops back into my general inbox, letting me know that it's my turn to reply, and I can quickly use my color-coding system to determine its importance!! Within 24 hours, my goal is to have responded to each email sent me, and tuck them into their folders- creating my "zeroed-inbox"! However- I encourage you to not put too much pressure on yourself! If getting all your emails filed in 24 hours is too much- set a goal of 48 hours, or even 3 days!" I certainly don't answer EVERY. SINGLE. email in that timeframe 24/7; I'm just sharing my goal! To recap: create file folders, color-code them, and strive for a "zeroed-inbox" by the end of each day!

The thing that really makes this email organization thing "worth it" for me, is that my clients ALWAYS comment on how responsive I am to their questions, comments or wedding chat over email! Now, I am NOT perfect, and I know I have not always responded to every single email within 24 hours- and I have to remember to give myself a little bit of grace (and you should too)!! But... at the end of a long day- this is my FAVORITE thing to see gracing my inbox!! "No New Mail" thanks to my zeroed inbox! (and thanks to Sarah Brookhart Photo for this lovely background picture!!)