The chances are good that if you have even the slightest interest in the 2016 United States Presidential race, you are familiar with the controversy surrounding Senator Hillary Clinton and her alleged use of personal email accounts on a private server to conduct government business.
For months now, a flurry of accusations, testimony, and new information continues to hover over Senator Clinton’s campaign as she campaigns across the nation in the hopes of securing the Democratic nomination, and eventually, the presidency.
Even if it turns out that not all the accusations laid against her are, in fact, true; it cannot be denied that it has greatly hindered her campaign, and Senator Clinton’s chances at reaching the white house.
It’s not just Hillary Clinton’s problem
Hillary Clinton’s email woes make for big headlines, but it’s amazing how many people make the same mistake of using personal email accounts for things like saving contacts, or rely on our business email account for things like shopping on Amazon.
Even if you aren’t a high-level government official, using a business email account for personal reasons, or using a personal one for business is something that can result in:
- Identity Theft
- Increase in Spam Email
- Even prosecution!
If for no other reason, it’s important to keep things separate because situations change. After all, the chances are good that you will change jobs in the next five years. When you lose access to your business email account during a job transition, imagine how much more stressful that can be when you throw in losing important contacts and emails.
What you can do
So, how can you make sure you don’t end up like Senator Clinton? It’s actually a very simple. Use more accounts. In fact, you can go beyond preventing disastrous consequences to transforming your email client into a productive and valuable tool.
Business Email Accounts
By this point, you probably already see the value in keeping these accounts strictly focused on anything having to do with communications in your business. But, what about the other ways you use your business email accounts?
- Newsletter Reply Addresses
- New Business Inquiries
When you think about it, there may be dozens of different ways you use your business email beyond just sending your standard message. Probably, too many uses to justify making or requesting separate accounts for each. Instead, it’s best to group all the kinds of messages, announcements, newsletters, receipts, updates, and any other type of emails you receive by how important that kind of communication is to you, and how immediately it might need your attention.
Begin by going through your inbox and looking at each sender. First, ask if the account you are receiving the messages from this source in is appropriate. If it’s having to do with work, you don’t want it sending to your personal account. Then, decide how important the emails from this source are likely to be to you, or how urgently they might require your attention. For instance, you may want your co-workers to be able to contact you immediately. However, you might not give email announcements from different services you use in your business, the same kind of urgency for your attention. To begin, we recommend trying:
- Active: communication requiring your immediate attention
- Passive: communication requiring your eventual attention
- Accounts: credentials, and communication not requiring your attention
Creating and using separate accounts for these three account types at work allows you to prioritize those messages that need your immediate attention, while filtering out those that are less important for a later date. It also empowers you to effectively assess information from 3rd party services and tools that you subscribe to at a more convenient time.
If any newsletters or emails coming from accounts are something you would like to continue receiving simply unsubscribe from them in your business account, and re-subscribe with your personal one. That way, you won’t have to start from scratch if you leave your job, and everything remains separated.
Personal Email Accounts
Chances are you have even more ways you use your personal accounts than your business ones. In fact, it can often be extremely difficult for people remember them all off the top of their heads. Especially if your account is years old, you might get emails from hundreds of sources including:
Again, just as with your business email accounts, you should think about how you want these emails to arrive and segment them according to urgency. Then, using a free email service like gmail, yahoo, or another of the many free options available online, create accounts for each segment. To keep things easy, you might try names like [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]… Whatever helps you remember when to use each one. Of course, you don’t want to have to get all your contacts to update your email in their address books, so it’s best to keep all direct/important communications in the account you use now, and work on moving all the other communications out of that account to these newly created ones.
Make your way through each message and update that sender to use the appropriate email address. This can mean updating email and notification preferences, replying directly with the request, or even creating automated rules in your client to forward the message automatically. Also, this would be a great time to unsubscribe from anything you don’t want to see come through your inbox. This process may take some time initially. however, as long as you use your email accounts as suggested in this post, you should never have to sort through them again.
Don’t forget Hillary Clinton’s current email predicament, and keep an eye out for any communications which belong in your business account’s inbox.
Becoming an email account management master
If you want to go beyond separating your personal and professional email accounts and begin to really master how you manage your communications, you need a great email client. Look for one that gives you the ability to apply labels, change notification settings, and includes options like snooze, and is designed for multi-account management.
For Windows users, and yes we are definitely biased here, but Mailbird is a great choice – as it is totally built around our current email predicaments that we all experience today. Do what you need to do to take control of your emails, and use Mailbird to set notifications for each of your accounts. When you do this, you can be sure to get notified for things like when your sister needs help with her upcoming move, while also eliminating unnecessary interruptions like your local deli announcing that they are having a sale. Tag emails in your different accounts for even greater control over email alerts and their importance.
With the right email client, a little time and some determination, you can be sure to never fall under the same scrutiny that Hillary Clinton unfortunately did. Most important is that you can finally gain control over how people contact you and reach that much needed Inbox Bliss.
If you’d like to give Mailbird a try, please go ahead and download it for free. As a special bonus, and to help you become a true email ninja, here is a coupon you can use for 33% Off Mailbird Pro for an entire year. Just visit our pricing page, select “Get Pro” and apply the coupon code “MB-SPECIAL33” in the coupon field at checkout. Otherwise, click below to give Mailbird a try.