Customer Engagement & Retention

Don’t Let Email Slow Down Your Online Business

Do you get so many emails that you don’t have time to really focus on anything else?

Are you sick of getting SPAM or stupid forwards from your family and friends that simply waste valuable time?

I read an article quite a while back on Zen Habits stating the author was ditching email all together; at the time I was honestly like – “Yeah right!”

As of today, though, I’m seriously considering ditching my email too.

But, thanks to Google and a few other cool online tools, I’m considering a couple options before I throw email to the curb:

  1. Use Twitter for all correspondence. Leo Babauta from Zen Habits uses Twitter for the majority of his communication. Here’s why:”What I love about Twitter is that it’s very limited (140 characters), so you have to keep things brief, and also there isn’t the expectation that you’ll respond to every message, as there is in email. Friends can DM me on Twitter for personal communication.”

    Another great thing about Twitter is that, if you don’t want to get messages from specific people, you can block them or just not follow them.

  2. Set up a Gmail Account!

Gmail is always coming out with cool new functions. One I discovered today is Priority Mail. Check out this cool video:

Here are a few more details from the Gmail Team:

Get through your email faster

sectionsTry reading and replying to the messages in the “Important and Unread” section first. Mark anything that requires follow-up with a star, then go through the “Everything Else” section. If you leave Priority Inbox, you can return to it by clicking the link next to Inbox on the side navigation of Gmail.

How it works

Gmail’s servers look at several types of information to identify the email that’s important to you, including who you email and chat with most, how often you email with these people, and which keywords appear frequently in the emails you read.

Train Priority Inbox

If Priority Inbox makes a mistake, you can use the Mark important Mark not important buttons to correctly mark a conversation as important or not important, and Priority Inbox will quickly learn what you care about most.


And more…

  • Customize Priority Inbox: You can change what type of email you see in each section (like switching the “Important and Unread” section to just “Important”). Just click on the section headers or visit the Priority Inbox tab under Settings to customize.
  • Use filters to guarantee importance: If you want to be absolutely sure that some messages are always marked as important (like email from your boss), you can set up a filter and choose “Always mark it as important.”
  • Search by importance: If you want to see all the messages that have been marked as important, both read and unread, do a Gmail search for “is:important.”
  • Switching back to your old inbox: If Priority Inbox isn’t for you, you can easily switch back to your normal inbox by clicking “Inbox” on the left or hide Priority Inbox altogether from Gmail Settings.

To learn more about managing your email with Priority Inbox, check out the Gmail Help Center.

So, set up a Gmail Account and save yourself some time!

Why aren’t you using Gmail yet?

5 replies on “Don’t Let Email Slow Down Your Online Business”

I was so glad to see your post on e-mails, Nate. They can be so counter productive. Several months ago, I made a decision to check my e-mails first thing in the morning and then the rest of the day I could go on with what had to be done without wasting time checking e-mails all day. It works very well for me. I spend a total of half an hour each morning and a half hour lat thing at night and write short responses where needed. So I can still enjoy my e-mails, but my whole day does not revolve around them. I’m not sure that I would want to cut e-mails out entirely, because it’s still a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. But it’s quite liberating to not be a slave to them. Thanks for such a timely reminder. Like Jordan, I’m curious how your decision to use twitter for your e-mails works out. Keep us posted.

Hello Eileen!

Great to hear from you! Yes, I agree that emails can be such a waste of time (except for the ones that tell you a new sale has been made).

I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

Thanks for the comment.

This is GREAT! Love the video clip. I have a Gmail account for my business mail, which I immediately re-structure.

I have had the same AOL account for over ten years and set up folders for sorting and saving mail. I try to delete or sort all my mail. Much of it doesn’t need to be read. For example, information about online purchases are read once, then further confirmations can often be just saved in a folder for further reference. This took some work to set-up and maintain, but I like it.

My phone gets email, so I use my time on the subway to answer mail too.

When working, I close all my mail accounts and ignore the phone so I can concentrate.

Email, Facebook and txt messages can take up much of your day if you let them

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