Email is a conquest all freelance writers face. Generally daily. It steals our attention, our time and that means our money. In 2010, make sure that you slay the email dragon, not smolder in its clutches.
Geeky fantasy imagery aside, spending too much time and energy on email is a serious problem for freelance writers. The time spent on email is too much, too frequent and too inefficient for a serious business owner to condone. Personally, I have some harsh rules regarding my email. Rules I didn't think I could follow, but it comes to setting firm rules with clients and vendors.
- Only check your email once per 24 hour period. Unless you've got project critical elements being delivered via email, don't touch your email. If you're accessing your inbox for project critical elements, tunnel-vision your way there.
- Don't just click what interests you—have a system. Use folders or labels to sort your email messages into actionable contexts (such as Read / Reader for ezines you need to read, social networking site notifications such as a LinkedIn folder for recommendation requests).
- Give as much as is due. Don't respond to worthless emails (junk forwards, fired clients not getting the hint, spam) and don't write unnecessarily lengthy responses. As a general rule, write an email subject and stick to it. Use those writing skills!
How to you keep email from sludging your workday? What are the struggles you face?