Have you ever been welcomed in the morning by hundreds of emails? Have you ever found yourself falling behind on daily responsibilities and tasks because you’re stuck in the inbox? Does the ping of a new email cause you anxiety? I’ve been there.
Fortunately, everything changed when I was introduced to David Breckheimer’s FREE Email Management Course. The course features practical steps one can take to create an efficient and scalable email management system. Some key concepts include changing your mindset on the definition of an email, batching like-tasks, and time blocking.
With this new perspective and skill set, I no longer work reactively within my inbox. I now have a clear system detailing how each type of email will be handled and at what time throughout the day. As a result, I’m much happier! And, once again, able to focus on my other responsibilities.
Personally, email management is the one thing that makes the biggest impact on my time, my level of joy during business hours, and my work-life-balance. So being compassionate towards the others on my team, I couldn’t keep the secret to myself. We worked together to change the way our whole COMPANY manages email. And today, it’s the first thing that each new hire learns when they join our team.
Here are some tips on how to teach email management to your team alongside David’s course.
Take the free course. Define your task batching folders and give yourself time to test and work out any kinks before introducing the system to your team or new hire. This documented system, will be a roadmap to your new hires success.
If you already have an admin or team working with you, be sure to ask for their thoughts while refining your system. Including some of their suggestions may help with the team’s buy-in. The goal is to create something everyone will honor in their daily routines.
Don’t recreate the wheel. Pass the course along to your whole team. Schedule breaks, whether your new hire is in-house or remote, to have a conversation around key concepts and take-aways. For those already working within your company, consider making this a fun “watch party”.
And make note of any unique modifications to David’s system! Give a detailed explanation of the types of email that get batched together. I’d also strongly urge you to give a clear reason for why you’re grouping these types of tasks. Knowing WHY something needs to happen, can help one better remember WHAT they are doing.
Additionally, if you are providing this training to a new hire who’s not already familiar with your inbox, it’ll be important to show multiple examples for each batch folder.
There is going to be a lot to remember when it comes to your email management system. Create a written tool that can be quickly referenced in each team members daily routine. Here are some ideas to get you started:
– Summarize key concepts featured within the email management course. These are the principles that you want your team to live by. I personally like to highlight the “30 second rule”, the 3 questions one must ask on each and every email, and the importance of formatting your email (including the “Breckheimer sandwich”).
– List your batch folder definitions. To help new hires, include key words or phrases that are commonly used in each batching category.
– Create a batching flow chart. This entails a series of questions. If the answer to question 1 is “yes”, then email is to be batched in category 1. If the answer is “no” however, then the user will move to the second question, and so on. It’s helpful to also included a video tutorial of yourself batching email using the flow chart in your training plan.
This way, your new hire can become comfortable with these new skills without fear of making a real-life mistake. Provide example emails from your actual inbox and have your new hire identify their matching batch folder. I recommend planning several practice rounds with enough time between each round to review answers and provide feedback.
The goal is to build confidence in the team member’s understanding of key concepts and job aid utilization before progressing into real-life.
When introducing a new task or process to a team member, allow him or her time to shadow you. Use the job aids and tools created above and continue to confirm your standardized practices when batching email in your own inbox. Work together to come up with the correct category. Ask about their thought process and continue to provide clarifying feedback. Then, switch! Ask the new hire to take over while you shadow.
Once your new hire has demonstrated a basic knowledge of your batch categories and how to utilize your tools/resources, give them ownership of batching all incoming email. The more emails they can batch, the more feedback you can give, and the more opportunity they will have to refine their skills.
When your new hire is confidently batching all incoming email, it’s time to train on processing inquiries, and tasks within each batch category. However, teaching several, let along many, processes at once can be confusing and hard to follow. So instead, focus on just one category at a time. Provide templated responses and checklists. Apply steps 4-7 above with each new category.
The HOW’s in email management are huge. But so are the WHEN’s. As part of your roadmap for success, be sure your team knows exactly when they are expected to be batching email and working within each batch category. Add these time blocks to everyone’s calendar, whether that’s in Outlook, Google, etc., for reminders and accountability.
You’ve made a major accomplishment by creating this email management system and sharing it with your team. However, systems should be considered as living things. From time-to-time circumstances may change and you’ll need to update your system accordingly.
Check in with your team regularly. Ask how their time blocks are going? Is there anything new that may need to be taken into consideration? Are any new email templates needed?
When making modifications, always remember to update your documentation and provide clear instructions to the entire company on how the new steps will be implemented in their everyday routines.
Want to hear more from Lindsey? Click to listen to her recent interview on Offer Accepted.
Lindsey Bavaro is the owner of Real Time Savers, a family-focused real estate transaction coordination company. She offers leverage to real estate agents in Washington State who are looking to scale and grow their businesses by providing proven plug-and-play systems for the management of their sales. While Real Time Savers handles the paperwork and follow up, the agent has more time to focus on building their business and enriching their personal lives.