For many of us, the first thing we open is our inbox and it’s often a good barometer of our working day. You see messages to follow up on, meetings to schedule, and important deadlines to meet.
Among many of the tasks that pile up throughout your day is managing email – and it’s one of the most important and likely first things you attend to.
There is a wealth of information online about email management tools. Reading how to organize email and downloading software to help can speed up the process, but it’s still you who has to reply.
For the entrepreneur in our digital age, it’s become common practice to delegate this work to an assistant. It is a challenging task, but we can help you with our guide on how to delegate your email to a virtual assistant.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus mainly on why you need someone managing your email. Let’s take a look at the top three reasons…
Your Attention Is Not Infinite
I’m sure you agree with me when I say you do not have an unlimited supply of cognitive resources.
There’s no shame in admitting you’re not a superhero. It’s perfectly normal for our mental battery to eventually run out.
Despite our best efforts to do so, we simply cannot give our attention to everything that falls before our eyes. Our brains aren’t wired that way.
General feelings of being overwhelmed are not uncommon, but they are especially manifest among entrepreneurs who dedicate their lives to running a business.
Your attention is vulnerable. It shapes your reality. With so many things running through your mind, over time your attention becomes diffuse and ineffective.
While a little stress is natural, the long-term effects of constant daily stress and feeling overwhelmed can trigger more serious mental health risks. Some research even suggests persistent stress may alter the physiology of the brain.
This is what appears to happen in the brain when it is under continuous stress: it essentially builds up the part of the brain designed to handle threats, and the part of the brain tasked with more complex thought takes a back seat.
— Dr. Kerry Ressler, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Though we haven’t yet developed a universal cure to stress, here at InboxDone we have come up with something we believe is pretty close – especially for busy entrepreneurs.
The most common stress complaint shared by our clients is the feeling of being overwhelmed. Once you hand over the keys to your inbox, you get a big part of your life back. With someone else managing your email and customer service, imagine how much of your attention you can reclaim.
Multitasking Isn’t Effective
Speaking of dividing your attention, have you ever had a co-worker who worked like a machine? Without breaking a sweat they could seemingly handle multiple tasks at once?
It’s likely you’ve been asked to meet a standard only possible by multitasking – either one set by yourself or by a superior.
Truth is, this mythical ability to do more than one task simultaneously, cutting down on time, and being more effective is just that: a myth.
Studies show multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
In fact, not only is multitasking less effective, it can hinder your ability to learn by robbing you of the focus necessary to process new information. We lack the neural infrastructure to complete multiple tasks at the same time, and by placing increased demands on our brain – as we often do – we severely limit our performance.
Apart from managing your email, consider the tasks that line up as you log into your inbox. A list of messages that require your response – some critical; others not – greet you:
- You need to convert this file to a pdf
- Someone in an email asks you where to download a form
- Your computer won’t update and you don’t know why
- Your business partner is asking about insurance
- A friend is asking for the address of your summer cabin holiday coming up
Even for the most organized, trying to juggle these all at once is unreasonable and leaves you open to error. Plus, clearly some emails should take priority over others, and half of them should not be your responsibility at all! The expression “wearing many hats” is one we hear a lot from our clients at InboxDone.
In finding a dedicated virtual assistant, someone whose role it is to carefully manage your email and work their way through the administrative tasks you’d commit the time to if you had it, you eliminate the need to multitask.
Additionally, your virtual email assistant is highly skilled at building systems and streamlining this process, further reducing the need to multitask and creating a more agile workflow for your business.
Improved Work/Life Balance
The line between work and play is not as clear as it once was.
With so many working from home, the structure of the workday has blurred considerably. You now work where you eat, sleep, and spend time with your family.
These new working environments challenge us to manage our time like never before.
Even for digital nomads, how you efficiently organize your time to avoid burnout in a stressful world is as important as ever.
Author and former staff writer of The Washington Post, Brigid Schulte, set herself to researching the lives of overwhelmed Americans in her bestselling book. With a focus on medical students and researchers, she illustrates how a culture that celebrates busyness is not only counterproductive, it can be dangerous for some.
In her interview with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), she reinforces the need to slow down and make time for play:
“When you’re tired you cannot create, you cannot innovate. You end up perpetuating status quo thinking.”
“The research is really clear: To have insight, to have innovation, requires a couple of things. You need to be well-rested. You need to be in a calm state of mind. The ideas come when you’re in this diffuse, day-dreamy kind of mode. Your brain is wired to have the best ideas when you’re taking a walk or you’re in the shower.”
Good rest is at a premium in this uncertain world. With the demands of a business on top of that, to have someone managing your email is a blessing. Just ask InboxDone client Kathy Broady who echoes many of these comments after passing on the weight of her inbox to her inbox manager:
When I would get up in the morning it was an automatic overwhelm. By the end of the day, you’re exhausted and you still have to take phone calls and do shopping. I would be working on emails every time I sat down at the computer, from morning until night. It was nonstop.
Remaining fresh and nimble is critical to running a business where you need to innovate ahead of your competition. With a virtual email assistant, you remove a bit of the emotional weight on your end of the scale.
After all, your good work can only exist in harmony with the free time you give yourself.
We invite you to explore how an Inbox Manager can help you reclaim lost time. Book a call with us and we can review what you need help with and how we can take over your email and administrative tasks.