As a musician, it’s vitally important that we keep control of our email inbox. I regularly get show opportunities via email from some of my highest paying customers, and a delayed response often equals missing out on money. Here’s a step-by-step guide to taming your inbox with Apple’s free Mail program:
1. Organize your inbox by clicking on “Sort by From” instead of the default “Sort by Date”. Then ruthlessly go through and delete all your junk mail.
2. Go through and respond in one email to all the email from each individual. For instance, if I received an email from my wife about going to dinner, another email about billing a client, and asking about a scheduling conflict, I’d write her one email about all three subjects.
This will majorly cut down your number of individual email you have to send out, and keep you from bombarding your friends and customers with multiple email.
3. Set up VIPs for the people that write you to whom you should always respond immediately. Move the pointer to the left of the sender’s name in the message header, then click the star that appears. Or move the pointer over the sender’s email address, click the arrow that appears, then choose Add to VIPs.
Every time you get a message from that person, you should be alerted on your iPhone and your computer, so you can respond immediately.
4. Archive all your responded email for future reference by using the key command Control-Command-A. Don’t waste your time setting up separate folders for different customers- you’ll be able to search automatically for anyone you like if you need to refer to a specific email.
5. Maintain your email weekly. Follow the above steps every week (I usually spend about 10 minutes a week) to keep your inbox under control. If you keep receiving junk mail, unsubscribe. Just a few minutes a week can literally save you hours of time, and keep you aware of potential opportunities.