Talking Shop: 6 Tools to Help You Manage Your Inbox

resouces to help you manage your email and inbox

Ok, so I’ll cop to it. I totally ran a shorter version of this post yesterday over on The Well. But I’ll also cop to something else: two nights ago I lay awake worrying about emails I hadn’t responded to yet. And when it came to the personal emails — the ones that needed to be sent to important people in my life who I dearly love — it also left me feeling like a bad friend.  I realized that I really, really needed to integrate a few of the resources below into my email routine. Even though I wrote this post specifically for a blog about blogging, the reality is that many of us — bloggers or not — get overwhelmed with email (and email responding fatigue), so I wanted to share these tools here in case anyone in the vmac community could use them! 

I get a lot of email. There’s business email, personal email, and then total junk email — and then variations of each within those categories, of course. I used to be a total nut when it came to having an Inbox count of zero. Now? I can’t even remember the last time that happened. I like to describe email as Sisyphean…it’s a never ending task and struggle. The good news is, technology is awesome, and nowadays there are SO MANY tools to help you keep up with things. I’m just the slowpoke who didn’t know about such tools until recently.

Step one in the email battle? Use things like Gmail’s canned responses (I’ve mentioned it before, but Meg has a great tutorial on that here). Step two? Letting go of the need to reply to every single email I receive…and using the delete button judiciously (yes, I said it!). And then, there are other tools, like the ones below. I’m totally installing Boomerang and Taskforce ASAP!  Have you tried any of these tools out? I hope these are helpful for you guys!

SANEBOX

What it is: SaneBox determines the importance of each email based on your past behavior within your Inbox.  It will move messages you care less about out of your Inbox and into a separate folder. Then, it summarizes them for you in a digest. In addition to a one-click unsubscribe feature, you can also set up reminders to respond to emails you’ve received, or follow up with people you sent emails to. There’s also a nifty “snooze†feature so you can ignore emails that don’t need an immediate response. And, I love that SaneBox allows you to seamlessly move any email attachments to Dropbox!

Recommended if: Your email is really, really out of control, but you rely on it for literally every aspect of your personal and business life (ahem, me).

Cost: $7-$36 depending on the plan you choose; for most of us, the lowest plan would probably be fine.   Read the full post +

This month's quote: "Take your pleasure seriously."

Talking Shop: Blogging and Time Management

blog tip-blogging and time management

Remember that scene from Saved by the Bell where Jessie is so overwhelmed with everything going on in her life and takes caffeine pills and then yell-sings to Zack Morris, “I’m so excited!…I’m so…scared.” Of course you do, because who doesn’t? She says something before that infamous breakdown that I always used to associate with blogging: “No time! There’s never any time!”

A few years ago, when I first started blogging more regularly (like, daily), I always felt that I was constantly looking for more time. Time to be on social media, time to create posts, time to network. I think this is the case for all bloggers — new and experienced — because it’s by far one of the questions I’m asked most often: “How do you manage to run your blog, your business, and have a life?” So today, for our first Talking Shop column, I thought I’d discuss my own experiences, insights, and make some recommendations, as well as hear from you guys about how you manage your time when it comes to blogging.

Here are some things you should know first and foremost:  Read the full post +

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Talking Shop

talking shop | by vmac+cheese

This post is two fold. One, I wanted to let you know that we’ve added two new ‘cocktails’ to The B Bar. These are part of a new category we’re dubbing shots — 1 or 2 page PDFs that cover very particular blogging topics and are everything a shot should be: quick, to the point, and very effective for the price. :) Two are live now (one is on guest posting, and the other covers permalinks), and we’ll be launching one more later in the week (on receiving gifted product, and what counts as income!).

And soon, Meg and I will also be launching some basic media kit templates at the Bar as well, in multiple file formats (think Word, Photoshop, and even PowerPoint). So if you’re not quite ready to hire someone to create one for you, you can always download a basic template and plug in your info and stats on your own (Psst! These will make a great accompaniment to our media kit guide).

With all that being said, I’ve been brainstorming an idea for the blog, and I hope you’ll love it and want to participate!

I’d been toying around with the idea of launching a Q+A or advice column, but didn’t know if people would want to ask me random things about my life (I don’t know, do you? That’s cool too!). Throughout all the consultations I’ve given over the last year and change, I’ve definitely noticed particular questions that come up over and over again from clients. With that in mind, I thought I’d write an occasional column, “Talking Shop,” in which I chat about some of these questions and offer my own experiences and insight. So much of making your way in the blog world is not only learning by trial and error, but from other bloggers too. So let’s talk a little shop, shall we?

I already have a running list of questions I’ve been asked repeatedly both in consults and via email, but if you have any blog or business related questions that you’d like me and the vmac+cheese community to discuss, leave a comment below, tweet me, or leave a post on my Facebook page. I hope to tackle your questions at least once a month, but maybe more!

Ready, set, go!