Video killed the Radio Star but did Email kill your Creative Spark? Yeah, that was a little cheesy but I was just trying to drive the point home.
Of course, for most freelancers, email is a no-brainer necessity when it comes to running your own business. It’s a means to reach out to prospective leads, keep in touch with existing clients and network without even having to worry about a WiFi connection or any canape small talk. Great.
But what if it transpired that email could actually be the unexpected productivity drain that none of us saw coming? Being glued to your inbox might make you appear more ‘on it’, tapping into that 24/7 work-hard-play-hard cliche that seems to fuel every fictional version of the hustle-hustle freelance dream. But the truth is that it could be as toxic and as much of a productivity killer as social media.
Research conducted by Bupa UK found that the average working millennial will dip in and out of their inbox for around 12 hours a day, with the first check taking place at 6.37am. That’s half our days! Even our down-time is dominated by inbox FOMO, with the Adobe data-set finding that over a third (36%) of millennials will keep an eye on their emails whilst ‘relaxing’ in front of the TV. Is that really relaxing? We think not.
Additionally, a study shared by Mail Manager earlier in 2021 found that 45% of UK business leaders and decision makers consider ‘poor email management’ as being a significant contributing factor towards lost client opportunities.
So, email is essential but our over obsession with tracking it acts as a major distraction. What do we do about it? Here are some tips
– Create templates for standard messages. Creating template emails as drafts for enquiries, invoice follow-ups (in the order of first follow-up, second follow-up and third), pricing and proposal requests can really help to save time.
– Separate your emails into multiple accounts. This means one inbox is never flooded. Try to have one specific account for enquiries that are linked to your website and social media. Then have another specifically for ongoing clients and day-to-day client work, and a third specifically for your own newsletter subscriptions or something similar.
– Schedule emails in advance. If you have to send monthly invoices, for example, you could write the messages ahead of time and schedule them to send so you don’t have to worry about missing any.