Like most online businesses, the majority of my communication with clients takes place over email. I found myself checking emails at all hours of the day, even after business hours. When I’d get a message from a client, I’d immediately feel like I had to respond right away, even outside my normal business hours. It quickly became a vicious cycle – checking my inbox, responding, getting a reply, doing something for a client, replying, responding, checking…you get the idea.
I’m even ashamed to say that I was so attached to my inbox that I would check emails on my phone during dinner with my family!
It quickly became apparent that I wasn’t respecting the time with my family, and I wasn’t respecting myself while constantly feeling the need to take care of business after-hours. I was torn because I didn’t want my clients to feel neglected, but I didn’t want my family hating me for putting client work over family time. I’d reassure myself by saying, “This will only take a few minutes…just let me reply to this one message and then I’ll be done.” I wasn’t able to enjoy family time, I couldn’t go to the grocery store, I couldn’t finish anything else I was doing because I was so caught up in replying promptly to emails.
Finally, I realized that I was doing a disservice to both my clients and family by being available 24 hours a day.
Then I discovered Boomerang for Gmail.
Boomerang is a simple program that installs right inside my Gmail account that allows me to schedule messages to be sent at different intervals. It gives the flexibility to reply to a message in an hour, the next day, or at a specific time and date. I am not exaggerating when I say it’s completely changed my life.
Their free subscription allows you to schedule 10 messages each month, and their paid subscription is only $5.00 per month with unlimited sends.
Let’s break this down so you can see just how useful this tool can be.
Clients email me at all hours throughout the day – sometimes on the weekends. When I would reply immediately, they were under the impression that I was always available, regardless of any business hours I’d enforced. When they would receive an immediate response from me, it let them know they could reach me at anytime. This added so much unnecessary stress for me, especially on the weekends!
When I started scheduling my email responses using Boomerang, I immediately felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders!
I could check emails after business hours or over the weekend and know the message would safely land in their inbox on the next business day. I was honoring the office hours that I’d enforced, and I quit allowing my inbox to rule my personal schedule and daily life. It actually looked more professional for them to receive responses during business hours rather than have them sent at odd hours. I mean, what would you think if you received a customer service response from a company at 10:00pm?
After all, no matter what industry or field you’re in, no one should expect an instant response from an email.
I definitely still check my email several times throughout the day and at certain times throughout my weekend, but with the help of this simple tool I’m able to respond to emails on my own schedule and respect my personal time, too.
Try it out.
Head on over here and install Boomerang for Gmail. Check out the other super-handy ways that you can use it, too. Your inbox, your family, and your clients will thank you for it.
Are you a compulsive email checker? Tell me about it in the comments, and report back after you’ve tried out Boomerang. I wanna hear how it’s changed your life, too.