Email technology is amazing, I love it. However, as much as it can empower us, it can overwhelm us. Staying in control of your emails allows you to focus on what you need to get done with your time.
With computers in our pockets, our biggest challenge today as successful actors is avoiding interruption by our emails. Most successful professionals know how to control their emails instead of letting them run their day, and so we need to be able to do that too.
There are some emails that we must answer immediately and there is a way to track these without having to look at your inbox every minute for that dopamine hit.
1. Unsubscribe from what doesn’t count. You should only be subscribed to services and organizations that you consistently use. Be ruthless with your unsubscribing; you won’t miss it. Promise! Unsubscribing will save you so much time and release so much stress.
2. Be alerted when important emails come in. Flag important emails as VIP with your iPhone or Android. They allow you to mark an email VIP so when your agent or manager contact you, your phone vibrates and rings. Use it to stay relaxed and not worrying about missing a very important or urgent email.
3. Don’t answer emails immediately as they come in. You should plan to check all other emails at a certain times of the day, when you have a break between auditions, for example. This allows you to define when they impact your schedule as opposed to the other way around.
4. Empty your inbox and use your sent box. I only keep about 20 emails in my inbox. Yes, 20. Everything else is filed away into a folder or deleted. If an email comes in and you reply to it, move it out of your inbox by filing or deleting. Leave the reply in your sent box to remind you to check back or that you are waiting for a reply.
Once the information has been answered, either file the original thread or delete it. Do not use your inbox as an archive folder. It is either relevant or it not. File or delete. Be ruthless. If you do this, your inbox becomes your to-do list which will help you become more productive.
5. File everything away. I have over 100 folders, all structured in a way they are easy to access. One suggestion for a folder structure, have one for agents, one for managers, and one for projects. Then underneath each of these folders have the next level of detail using either manager names, dates, or projects.
6. Use Evernote. I have mentioned this software before but it is one of the most powerful pieces of software that you can ever add to your arsenal. If there is link or file you need to file somewhere, don’t keep it our inbox or sent box, clip it to Evernote. Its search capabilities is unbelievable and you can have it on you Mac, iPhone, Android, or PC. Use Evernote.
7. Use your flags option. If there is a very important email that you need to access all the time for a particle reason, either for information or if it has a link that you need to log into, flag it. All emails services from Gmail to Mac create an automatic flag folder for you. But only flag what is relevant, and review your flag folder on a regular basis to file what is out of date. Alternatively, create a folder called “Must Keep.”
8. Only keep 20 emails in your inbox and 20 in your sent box. Be ruthlessly disciplined about this rule. If you let it grow to 50, it will be 100 by the end of the week and the email virus that was stressing you out will be back with a vengeance.
Technology is great, but like all good things, there is always some bad that comes with it. Learning how to stay in control of your technology so that it doesn’t overwhelm you is power and control you are giving back to yourself.