This is the third article in a series of photographer productivity hacks I’l be sharing. Want to ensure you don’t miss any of them? Subscribe as a VIP member for free
Email. You get it.
Well… I mean… you get a lot of email. Whether or not you “get it” when it comes to handling your email effectively, I don’t know. There are entire courses and systems available to help you productivity and handling email (I’m a fan of the aptly-named Getting Things Done methodology and here is how I use OmniFocus, my tool of choice). I’m not going to try to teach you all of that right now (no single blog post could do that), but I want to hit a few key email tips that will help you effectively handle incoming email as a photographer.
Abandon False Hope of the Past
If your inbox currently has thousands of unhandled messages going back for months or years, the first thing to do is to clean that out.
Archive anything older than three weeks old. If you were going to have done something with it, you would’ve. Stop kidding yourself.
There, now your inbox is only (mostly) recent stuff. That’s a good starting point.
Become an Email Software Guru
The time you spend learning how to easily and quickly use your email program will have a huge return on investment. I don’t particularly care which email software you’re using; use whatever you’re most comfortable with. Perhaps that’s GMail, or Outlook, or Apple Mail, or another program. Regardless of your software choice, you want to learn how to quickly and easily process and respond to email.
You’ll be fastest if you learn your email software’s keyboard shortcuts. Good email software allows for most common actions to be taken with a single keystroke. If you’re spending time reaching for the mouse, clicking and dragging, you’re wasting time.
Search, Don’t Sort
You know what computers are really good at doing? Searching. Gmail is probably the best, but the search functions in Outlook and Apple Mail and other programs aren’t bad either.
Once you’ve read and handled a piece of email, move it to an archive. If you’re using Gmail, this is built in, just hit the E key. If you’re using another program, create an archive folder and that’s where it goes.
When you need to find it, search for it. This will be a far better use of your time than meticulously creating a bunch of email folders manually, and then spending mental energy and time to move each new message into a folder for storage.
Be Quick to Delete; Even Better? Unsubscribe.
Skim your inbox… if a message isn’t interesting, you don’t need to open it. Delete it. Don’t waste time with it.
Do you get a bunch of newsletters or other marketing messages that sounded good at the time you subscribed, but now you realize you rarely read them? Unsubscribe. There’s no need to keep deleting these messages on an ongoing basis; it’s good practice to remove yourself from the list and stop them from getting to you in the first place. Every commercial email should contain an unsubscribe link.
Get Paid for Long Client Email
If you routinely spend a lot of time answering or writing email to your clients, whether it’s time pre-session, or in consultation for various reasons, be sure that you are accounting for that time when you’re setting your pricing. If you know your cost of doing business and are selling a four hour session, but you find that you end up spending another hour in consultation or communication time, you need to price and sell that session as a five hour job.
What have I forgotten? What other email tips do you have to minimize email burden for your photography?
Stop wasting time in your inbox and get back to photography.https://t.co/fkPWljoWpm
— Photowebo (@photowebo) November 1, 2016