Steuart Snooks, Master of Email
Being a business owner means accepting the fact that time is often your enemy. And though we’d probably come to terms with being cash-rich, time-poor – after all, you’re in business to make money – often there’s an extra cost attached. That cost – some call it ‘opportunity cost’, is work-life balance.
One facet of business management that has a huge impact on your personal and work-related equanimity could be your increasingly demanding inbox.
"Everyone uses email, and most people who use it have a problem with it!"
Steuart Snooks https://www.steuartsnooks.com.au/
In our podcast today we talk with Steuart Snooks, an expert, nay, a Master of Email https://www.steuartsnooks.com.au/. Steuart understands that running a business is all-consuming and that as an SME owner, you're bound to bear the brunt of the workload yourself.
But what say the associated payoff didn’t come at the expense of your time? Think about the idea of freeing up your energy, your headspace, your open-loop RAM (Random Access Memory) to focus on big picture stuff or enjoy an extra couple of hours with family … sounds impossible, right?
That’s because time management is a skill that busy businesses don’t find easy to master. Adding to your list of daily ‘to do’s’ are the replies required to complex, urgent, and voluminous emails – all needing to be read, a decision made, an action taken. Yet only 20% of those emails offer your business any real worth.
"Decision-making fatigue: Every time we look at an email, we have to make a decision – even if it’s just not to make a decision.”
Steuart Snooks https://www.steuartsnooks.com.au/
The 'urgent' aspect is usually highly intense: 8% of senders expect their email to be responded to within 15 minutes and 25% of receivers believe they have to respond within 15 minutes. So ne'er the twain shall meet!
Yet we have good reason to expect fairly prompt responses and if not from one medium then from another. We're communication-crazy – think Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, texting, and chat boxes - all personality appropriate, convenient, and versatile. Yet email is still at the forefront of standard business correspondence; it’s at the hub, the epicentre of good practice, so how do we make it work for us?
The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.
Stephen R. Covey
Time management gurus like Stephen R. Covey, Brian Tracy https://www.briantracy.com/, David Allen https://gettingthingsdone.com/, Tim Ferriss https://fourhourworkweek.com/ (and of course, Steuart Snooks) are all advocates of doable time management strategies for businesses, achievable with some practical logistics and a positive attitude.
The results are 100% pro-productivity and entail applying fix-it, streamline-it techniques (easily adopted), that are guaranteed to sort out your email system. E-mastery coaching with Steuart allows you to regard emailing as one job on your task completion tick list that you can control - and it’s not all that hard.
Steuart uses the WWW analysis technique (no, not World Wide Web, tho’ the outcomes are (almost, not quite!) as far-reaching. WWW allows you to dissect how you are using your current email software then utilise a new system that will improve your communications and your time management - and quite possibly throw a lifeline to your sanity.
W=When do you pay attention to your email? Is it an ad hoc interruption, a distraction, an annoyance?
W=What is your process? Is it automated, standardised, consistent?
W=Where do you store it? Is it in a separate folder called Done or is it left in your inbox? (guilty!)
Understanding how to navigate and manipulate the functionality of your chosen email service (Outlook is free, flexible, and sophisticated) is key. Steuart helps you set it up to house each email according to its priority, ultimately reducing the number you see to only those needing attention on the day.
You can use the TRIAGE approach to initiate this. Set up three columns that enable you to sort your inbox into:
- Due date
As the next email pops up, capture it, make a quick judgment of its content, and:
- DEAL WITH (34% of emails can be dealt with immediately)
Then create a follow-up folder to store What you need, Where you need it, for When you need it.
Add an ‘expectation’ controller such as “I’m not at my desk right now, but I do check my emails regularly. If your issue is time-sensitive, please contact me this way …" Then turn your notifications off and get on with other things. Because from now on you have your email under control.
You can learn these tactics via DIY, or Steuart can coach you to ensure you have the right process in place for your unique needs, or he can manage your entire email process in a virtual assistant kind of way.
If you prefer to be in charge of your own systems, block out a time each day like you would an appointment to focus on your emails. They are, after all, part of your livelihood and thus valuable and utterly deserving of your (now manageable) time.
Take control and command your inbox to work for you, plus learn about the other tips and tricks that make emailing easier - it's all within your existing software if only you knew how! Reach out to Steuart via his website https://www.steuartsnooks.com.au/ (spelt either Steuart or Stewart) or LinkedIn.
By the way, if you need more help in moving your business from ordinary to extraordinary visit me, Craig Oliver at http://www.Projecthq.co.nz/
Or follow fellow business owners on their journeys by checking out our O2E Business Academy on Facebook.
And read the show notes from our other amazingly informative, inspirational and gritty podcasts at https://www.talkingbetterbusiness.com/
So many insights, tips, and ideas to be had! Just look back, listen, and learn.
Go on, smash through the glass ceiling, and move your business from Ordinary to Extraordinary.