If there’s delegating one thing that scares entrepreneurs and top professionals the most, it has to be their email management. Most of them are fine with outsourcing administrative tasks, travel management, documents, research and even accounts, but outsourcing email management? Heck no! Worse still, are those who brag “I personally make it a point to check and respond to all my mails despite running a hectic schedule!” Well it may seem like achieving a feat to some, but the fact is checking email is one of the worst productivity sucker of our times. According to a report by McKinsey, c-suite executives end up wasting a significant 38% of their time in the non productive task of managing their email. Start-up owners would be worse we imagine!
Managing emails is harder today than it’s ever been. With tons of emails pouring in, is it even possible to achieve a zero inbox? Of course, if you are up to the challenge – of outsourcing your inbox to a virtual assistant. It’s not as hard as you think and it doesn’t mean surrendering control over it – if you know how to work it out neatly with a dedicated virtual assistant. Here’s how delegating email management works:
#1 Embrace Gmail if not there yet: Gmail instantly syncs all your devices – phone, laptop, tablet, etc. to let you access your mails from anywhere – the ‘mobility’ factor of having your email in the cloud defines email freedom from the word go. If you have your own domain, forward those emails to your Gmail account or use Google Apps to get your domain directly synced with Gmail.
#2 Delegate access to your inbox: The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to share your password for this.
Visit Account Settings>>Accounts and Import>>Click on ‘Grant access to your account’
Your Virtual Assistant must have a Gmail account for you to be able to grant access to him/her. Alternatively, you may also share your username and password with your VA if you are comfortable – use a password protector service in this case for added security.
#3 Train your dedicated virtual assistant to think like you: Time management expert Chris Ducker’s 1-Click Rule and 3 Sentence Rule can be real time savers when it comes to sorting and training your dedicated assistant on handling emails. The 1-Click Rule mandates you to only click ONCE when you open an email – hit reply, delete, or archive. No going back and forth on messages and taking longer than necessary time to think of an appropriate action. The 3 Sentence Rule mandates you to reply to all mails in no more than 3 sentences – crisp and to-the-point. For anything that needs more explanation – simply get on a call.
Classify your email types and give clear instructions on what is to be done on what. Building a good rapport with your VA will ease the process and gain better results. Your assistant will know the priority mails, regular ones (and the template replies to be sent) and of course we all recognize spam. For emails that need your attention, ask your VA to write replies and keep them in your drafts. That way you can just add 2-3 lines of personal notes and send – a huge load off your shoulders! If you are in the service industry, say a doctor or a professor, this is an amazing way for you to respond to important queries that will help people without your time being spared.
Outsourcing your email management to a virtual assistant does more than get you to zero inbox everyday – it helps you stay sane and achieve that elusive work life balance by not compulsively checking mails on weekends, vacations, and at every opportunity you get!