July 10, 2023

Top tips for email & diary management

We all have work that will need some sort of email & diary management.  Read these helpful tips about how hiring an Executive Assistant/VA could do wonders for your business and personal life.  

6 tips for email & diary management:

1. Think of your mental health. 

Factor breaks into your day, maybe get up early and start the day with some physical exercise, or factor in a walk at lunch to break the day up, stretch and get some air.

2. Set diary reminders if you need extra help. 

Some people work better with a written list, others work with a diary reminder which will pop up on the bottom of your screen, or maybe even a phone reminder.  I prefer the old-fashioned way of paper reminders, but only because I am obsessed with notepads, books, and to-do lists! Whatever works for you.  

3. Make sure meeting invites are kept on top of. 

A VA can do this for you and will have extensive knowledge of how a diary should be well run.  Balancing your time is a must!  Meeting invites (if kept on top of properly) will prevent you from missing urgent meetings, and you could even factor prep time into your diary before meetings as well to ensure you are fully up to speed before a meeting/call starts.  For me, keeping on top of invites is a big factor in running your diary well, especially if you are very busy as meetings change quickly and it will ensure you don’t double book yourself.  

4. Consider the length of meetings.

Think about whether you can do meetings/calls in less time or maybe even finish 5-10 minutes earlier.  Reducing a 1-hour call (for example) by 5-10 minutes enables you a break between meetings or even a ‘buffer’ time if one happens to run over schedule.  This means you won’t be panicked or feeling anxious if it runs into the buffer time and thus will mean your next call runs on time!  Considering the time on calls will also allow you to factor in comfort breaks when you need them.

5. One of my favourites – Colour Coding!

At a glance it allows you to see a diary in a different way.  Consider colour coding and use different colours to highlight (for example) travel, teamwork, personal items and important meetings quickly and effectively.  

I always colour-code my client’s diaries, and if they didn’t start as a colour-coding fan, they definitely are whilst I am working for them.     

6. Consider an appointment management system.

If you are struggling with email & diary management, this system minimises the backwards and forwards on email trying to align dairies manually.  A tool such as Calendly can be linked to your Gmail/Outlook which enables people to see when they can book meetings with you.  You can also allow buffer times as well so people can’t book over that time.  

Tips to manage your inbox

It’s very easy for your inbox to get out of control.  How many times a day do you think you are drowning in emails?  Maybe try and implement some of the below to help calm your overwhelm when trying to manage your inbox:

  1.  Aim to action emails within a realistic timeframe.  The longer you leave it, the more they will build up and drive you crazy.  A VA will be able to keep a constant monitor on these and action anything immediately.  
  2. Set up email ‘rules’ to make things easier for you if you need it.  This can also include filters in Outlook or Gmail and keep a folder structure.
  3. Set up labels on your emails so you can keep track of them (perhaps the name of the client etc).  You can also create subfolders and when something is actioned you can file it away out of your main inbox, that way the main inbox is kept down to a minimum and you know the main things left are what needs action.  
  4. If you are going on holiday, set an out of office to enable you to switch off and take a break.  Also worthwhile disconnecting the sync on your phone so you don’t get push notifications come through for emails, and you won’t be tempted to check them.  
  5. Follow the diary rule of colour coding in Outlook.  You can colour emails as well, and use flags to mark what still needs work, and then ticking them off once complete.  
  6. Consider setting yourself diary slots that are specific for prep work, writing up notes after calls or sending emails.  


Things to remember:

  • Don’t allow yourself to get into bad habits when arranging your diary.
  • Don’t allow back-to-back calls, it will eventually cause burnout, and you won’t have time to actually do any work as you will always be in meetings!
  • Look after your mental health.
  • Allow yourself to relax.
  • Take comfort breaks when you need them (eat, drink, and use the toilet)

Are you ready to get started

Are you a business owner? Looking for virtual EA support in Surrey or beyond?

Why not book a free no-obligation call with the team to find out how you could integrate our executive administration expertise into your business.