Sorting and Prioritizing Email like a Mastermind

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on September 24, 2010 in: Email Efficiency, Tips in 10

So, by now you read my last article  about sorting and prioritizing email in 10 minutes on a shoestring budget. That is a great way to sort and prioritize email… but you can take it to another level by doing two things:

  1. Hire a Virtual Assistant to sort and prioritize for you.
  2. Utilize Email Center Pro

Email Center Pro allows you to link multiple email boxes up on the web and assign to multiple people. Let me give you a scenario:

I have the following email accounts: Sales, Admin (catch all), Accounting and Mine.
Then I have 5 users: Let’s just call them Larry, Mo, Curly, Bob and Bo.

I, as the administrator, have access to all email boxes, but my default is Mine.

Larry only has access to Sales
Mo and Curly both have access to Accounting Only
Bob has access to Admin
Bo has access to Mine

Larry handles the sales email as that is his job, if there is anything I need to see he can assign it to me. (No forward there).

Mo and Curly can simultaneously handle accounting as it tracks their movements and one cannot reply while another is replying – they leave notes for each other, etc.

Bob can filter through admin and only pick out relevant emails from all the junk our catch-all email account receives and move them to my inbox.

Bo is my right hand man and he handles all my email before I even see it.

Now, that is taking email management to a whole new level and probably overkill for most of my readers. I want to tell you how it can help you to handle and prioritize your email but first I just wanted to let you see its vast capabilities.

So, let’s talk about the average user.

You have your email box now feeding in to Email Center Pro and you and your assistant Bo now both handle your email. On your Email Center Pro dashboard you see “My Mail” top and center. This is email that has been “assigned” to you. Then underneath you see “All Mail” and this is mail that has come in. If you have a virtual assistant, you don’t even need to look at the “All Mail”, just the ‘My Mail’.

Technically, your mail comes into your “All Mail” inbox and it is unassigned.  Then Bo can label it and do one of three things: Assign it to you, archive it or handle it himself.

What is great is that Email Center Pro lets you have “mailbox level” signatures and “user level” signatures, so while everything coming from my mailbox has my standard signature, when Bo responds or handles an email on my behalf his signature is there and I have a disclaimer on his signature that reads:

“I check and handle email on Heather Villa’s behalf to assure timely and responsive communication. If you have concerns or an issue with this, please let us know. Heather does review all incoming and outgoing emails once daily.”

So I am not being misleading. My clients, colleagues and friends know Bo is handling my email.

If Bo uses the same sorting techniques mentioned in the previous email:

  1. To Do Immediately
  2. To Do Later
  3. To Be Reviewed
  4. Waiting on Follow Up
  5. Business
  6. Personal

…then you don’t have to worry about costly assistant bills because Bo’s work will just take minutes daily. When you log in to Email Center Pro you go directly to Label 1-To Do Immediately and can handle everything there and then change the label on the email once done.

Or you can use one of Email Center Pro’s other features. For me I have done away with label 1 and label 2. Because of the “My Mail” feature. Anything that belongs in Label 1 or Label 2 is assigned to me and if it is label 1 it is “starred” so when I go into the “My Mail” section of Email Center Pro I know that the only things that are in there are things I need to do and the yellow stars symbolize that it needs to be done immediately.

Obviously, guidelines have to be given to Bo or he has to learn a bit more about your business to do this efficiently. However, remember this: 1 hour invested today can save you 10 hours in the next month!

Disclaimer: This Tip in 10 Minutes obviously will take much longer if you have hundreds or thousands of emails a day.

Bonus Tip:

When you are ready to really delegate, take everything one step further and show Bo how he can do things to handle some of your incoming email. Email Center Pro makes this easy with a Note feature that allows you to add notes to a specific email. So when Bo assigns an email to you, you can assign it back to him with a note that says “yes schedule an appointment on my calendar for this person and email him to confirm”. Voila!

Heather Recommends:

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