5 Tips for Better Email Management

By Aaron Pugh

Would you have “letters” thrown all over the place in your office? Would you have potentially very important documents in UNOPENED letters lying around? Probably not. Now that we’re well into the digital age of mail, it is still difficult for many of us to manage these electronic correspondence… yet it’s more critical than ever.

Although we might feel that we are efficient with our emails, there is always room for improvement. Especially as financial advisors, we have to juggle the mix of critical documents, customer service correspondence, colleague relationship management as well as the always annoying junk mail.

My hope is that you can take one of the following tips/ideas that I use to help you to better manage your email. This is what works for me, and I’m hoping it works for you.

  1. Reduce the number of folders/sub-folders: I have seen friends email inboxes that have over 100 folders and subfolders. To me, that is exhausting. You might be slowing yourself down by simply trying to figure out which sub-folder the email from your mother should go. Giving yourself too many options could cause problems down the line when a very important email comes in from one source and needs to be tagged to a particular client. Then you are going to have to decide which folder it best fits with. I personally don’t use folders in my email. The only folders I have are the Inbox, Sent, Drafts, Junk, and Trash folders. I use my search function and manage my inbox like my own Google search engine. Clear titles and keywords are my best friend.
  2. Use and create your own automatic filters: In my case, I use Redtail email. Redtail gives you the ability to create your own filters that will help limit spam, automatically move emails to folders if you use them, mark them as important…whatever you want to happen, Redtail makes it work. I encourage you to get very familiar with this function. Automate, automate, automate!
  3. Use the “Mark as Unread” Function: I know this might be a no-brainer to many of you, but there are people that don’t use this function effectively. I use my email as a “To Do” list. If I have not completed the task, replied, or found the information needed, I mark the email as unread. It’s just as important to mark emails that you’ve read but don’t need to reply as “read”.
  4. Ditch Emails all together when necessary: You might be wondering what I mean by this. If a client or anyone is sending you an email that could be a simple 3 minute phone call to resolve, then just pick up the phone and call them. Spending the time to write up your email will probably take longer than 3 minutes. And it’s important to remember they will probably follow up with a question or two… so let’s remember our basic communication skills (and customer service skills!) and pick up the phone.
  5. Use your business email for strictly business: Do not use your work email for subscribing to newsletters or market updates. The people writing those articles are professionals, they are trained at catching your eye with high impact headlines. Once you’re in, it’s easy to click-through and go down the rabbit hole of articles. Create a separate email account (using something free like Gmail) for newsletters. That way, you’re able to dedicate work to work, keep your inbox clear from newsletter clutter, and create dedicated time to read up when you’re in that mindset.

Everyone is different, and you’ll have your own email operating rhythm to follow. I hope my tips and email management choices give you some ideas and tricks to try. As financial advisors, our communications and organization are more critical to successful business than ever before.


Learn More about Aaron Here!