8 golden rules for more effective email management

June 20th 2022 – Written By Stephanie Sheargold

virtual assistant

Emails, emails, emails… They’re a necessity, but can quickly can take over our lives. Small wonder then that email management is one of our most popular services. So many people feel stressed and overwhelmed by their out-of-control email accounts – it’s time to take control!

Here are our golden rules to help you manage your emails more effectively.

1. Aim to have a maximum of 10 emails in your inbox at once

Yes, I know this feels impossible! However, set a system in place, and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.

Now, it’s true enough that even if you manage to clear your emails, sticking to just ten emails in your inbox at one time is tough. So, here’s how we’d recommend you do it:

  • Identify which emails you can deal with quickly. Do them now!
  • Identify which emails you can immediately delegate to someone else. Do that now!
  • Decide which emails are unimportant or unneeded. Archive them now!

By following these three simple steps, your inbox will quickly start to feel less cluttered, and you’ll start feeling more in control.


2. Use the ‘delay send’ feature

This little tip will save your bacon on more than one occasion. We’ve all made the mistake of misspelling someone’s name or leaving the wrong person on cc. You might even accidentally press send before finishing your email. Most email programs have the option to delay send or undo send. So, make this feature work for you and adjust your email settings, so you have 30 seconds of grace after pressing ‘send’. You can now recall emails that you’ve just sent and quickly change them before resending.


3. Start using email templates

You probably already use templates for presentations or quotes. But did you know you can use templates for your emails? Setting up a few standard responses will save you untold amounts of time when dealing with enquiries. Make a note of regular email enquiries – perhaps you regularly get asked for a specific file location or how to do something. Now, create some templates. Not sure how to do this? Here are instructions for Outlook and Gmail email templates. 


4. Add a Calendly link to your email signature

Just think of all the time you spend going back and forth trying to arrange a call. So how about setting up Calendly and sharing a link to your page at the bottom of your email? In case you’re not familiar with Calendly, this handy app accesses your calendar on your behalf and allows others to book a meeting at a time when you’re free. Even better, the basic package is free!


5. Make the most of email labels and filters

Setting up labels and filters on your email can change your life. And I’m not exaggerating – it can even help you achieve the legendary ‘Inbox Zero’ that so many of us strive for. Use email labels and filters, and you’ll never have to trawl through your archives or inbox again. What’s more, you won’t miss important emails either because they’ll be easier to spot. Not feeling up to the task of labelling and filtering your emails? Ask your Timpi VA to help – they’re experts at this task.


6. Archive your emails, never delete them

Repeat after me… “I will never delete my emails”. Deleting emails might seem like the right thing to do if you’re striving for a neat and tidy inbox. But the problem with deleting emails is the finality – there’s no way to get those emails back if you need them. That’s why it makes so much more sense to archive your emails instead. How you archive your emails is up to you – by project, sender, date… it’s all good. Just make sure you never hit that delete button again.


7. Respond promptly to emails

Get in a habit of responding to emails in a timely manner. You don’t need to respond immediately, but a good rule of thumb is to reply within 48 hours. Any longer, and the sender might think that you’ve not received their email. Responding in a timely manner helps you and your business by:

  • Creating an easy habit that you can stick to
  • Reinforcing your interest in the sender & their email
  • Demonstrating that you care about your relationship with the sender.


8. Get professional help with your email management

Staying on top of your emails can be a real struggle if you’re regularly away from your desk or if you deal with a lot of people. Getting a VA to help you with your inbox management can make a real difference.

How can having a VA help with email management?

If you need help with email management, this is how we’d support you. Your VA would check your inbox two or three times a day – in the morning, the middle of the day and in the afternoon. This makes sure your emails get actioned even if you can’t respond due to travel, meetings or project work. Your VA could help you clear your inbox by adding labels, filters and rules. They will also help you set up email templates to make it easier to respond to routine requests.


To help make sure everything is running smoothly, we would recommend having a quick catch-up twice a week to go through everything. This gives you the chance to tell your VA about details such as when you want to take meetings, whether or not you want to allocate travel time around meetings and if you want to block out your diary, so you have time to complete projects. This helps your VA work more effectively because they will know your preferences.  


If you’re new to working with a VA you might be unsure of how to brief them and what they need to know. Our blog ‘What’s the best way for me to start working my new VA?’ is the perfect read for you and tells you everything you need to know!