Why companies will never get out of email hell

by Productivity

Do you feel like no matter how many hacks you employ and announcements go out, your company will never get out of email hell? I'm here to tell you why you may never break free.

At RaderCo, we get hired a lot to help companies drowning in their inbox. I regularly give Continuing Professional Education to CPAs through webinars for Email Extinguisher, which sometimes has 500-800 attendees. When I start coaching private clients in a program, it's one of the first things I go to.

The Inbox. 

Well, I have a secret for you. I am not a miracle worker. I do not have magic fairy dust to sprinkle on your inbox that will take away all your woes. And between you, me, and the interwebs, your company will never get out of their inbox if you don't use some kind of project management system.

What's a project management system?

 It's something like ClickUp (our preferred), Asana, Trello, or a similar tool, that keeps track of all the tasks within a project. It may also host resources, documents, and videos.

ms-slack-no

Microsoft Teams is NOT a project management tool.
Slack is NOT a project management tool.

There is no assigning dates, delegation, or prioritization in those tools. They are for communication and distraction (depending on how you use them) 🙂

If a company used a project management system, there would be no emailing back and forth for status requests, information shared, and check-ins.

We rarely, and I mean rarely, email each other (and no, we do not use Slack or Teams). There may be 2-3 emails a month, and that's only because an external client has emailed us, and maybe we are copying a team member. When we get an email that is a task, we forward it to ClickUp to prioritize and give a due date, assign it to a specific person, and mark it complete when it's done.

I don't need to check in with Lisa about a task because I can see in ClickUp if she's working on it or completed it. I get notified when something is done.

Rea has recurring tasks every week to search for podcasts and conferences. I don't have to ask her; it just shows up in my notifications when it's done.

We host all how-to videos, agendas, and documents in ClickUp.

Oh, and it's also our CRM.

And oh boy, do we have templates! Every time I get a speaking engagement, a new coaching client, write a podcast episode or blog, I select a template. Every task associated with that project auto-populates with the task's name, the person it is assigned to, and the date it needs to be done. Yes, it even maps out the dates based on how many +/- I've determined it needs to be done from the master task date.

CK Template

We can help you decrease your email and give you some strategies to reduce your telepressure and anxiety around checking all the time. We can help train your team members for those ever-popular reply all (which wouldn't happen in a PMS) or Thanks! emails. We can show you shortcuts and settings adjustments to streamline your workflow. Still, we will not be able to shift your company culture to live outside the inbox without the help of a project management system.

It's never too late to tame the beast. While it may seem like a daunting effort, if you expect your company to grow, it's not going to become any easier. Start with one team to pilot the process. Maybe a more siloed team that could just work within it together. Then add on a team that they work with most often so that you can see how it works cross-functionally. Then embrace it across the department and then the whole company.

And for the love of kittens, hire someone to set it up and train you on it! I can't count how many times I've consulted with a company that paid a ton of money for a tool but expected their internal staff to learn it while setting it up themselves or didn't hire an expert to train their staff. One of the best investments was hiring a ClickUp consultant to set my company up. I still spent over 40 hours in one quarter writing all the processes, doing the training, and creating task templates, but it was so worth it as we have had people on and offboard.

Don't you want some ease in your life too?

Get out of email jail or email hell, whichever way you see it, with a project management system.

Now, does this mean email will go away? Not on your life, but it can be easier. I've worked with companies to design decision trees and email policies to soften the blow of 300 emails a day.

And since you still need to work on those email behaviors, or you know you need something in the meantime (because implementing a PMS can take a long time), reach out to Rader Co and sign up for our Email Action Plan. It's a 90-minute deep dive that can be life-changing. And quite frankly, we're giddy over this stuff!

Your company (and you) can get out of email hell!

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Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects