If you are following me on Facebook, you must have noticed the number of times I’ve posted an inbox zero status.  Thanks to FollowUpThen, inbox zero is now more a way of life than an occasional achievement.

As a virtual assistant, I receive an average of a hundred emails daily.  And those are just for my main client in my VA business. I’m not even counting the emails for my side hustles.

My inbox is pretty organized.  I have folders according to recipients so I know which ones to attend to as soon as I log in.  I have folders according to events that I’m organizing for the client, so I know where to look for expenses that need to be reimbursed or where to look for communication threads should there be a time that they need me to look for references.  I have folders according to contact category, like affiliates, consult clients, coaching clients, podcast guests and suppliers.

But the challenge has been in keeping track of email threads.  Not all people are prompt responders.  Some would really require several follow-ups before they would respond.  And with the sheer volume of emails that flow through my inbox every single day, some would tend to fall through the cracks.  These are few and far between, but yes, there have been times that a scheduled consult would be due the next day, only to realize that the client has not replied to confirm the call.

The fix that I creatively used was to mark emails needing follow up as unread, star them, so that they all go to one folder, and because they are unread, they stay at the top of my inbox for me to see each time I log in, as a reminder that I have to send a follow up.

Another tool I used was the mighty pen and paper technique with post-it notes and my daily planner.

But that was stressful!  Not to mention time-consuming.  And messy.

Imagine having, say, ten clients who do not check their e-mail everyday.  That’s an additional ten unread emails to the new hundred that I get each day.  Or having to write the same reminder on the pages of my planner each time I turn the page to another day.

Then I found FollowUpThen.

Not only was I able to clear out my inbox, I’ve also been able to keep my planner almost blank.  No more writing down notes to myself.  I just keep my task list in my e-mail, and they pop up at the time that I need to be reminded.

Another fun feature is that when I send an action item to my client, I’m also able to remind him when he forgets to respond.  🙂

If this is the first time you are reading about FollowUpThen, go ahead and check out all the cool features at their site.

You can use it for free, and you can set-up up to 50 reminders in a month.  Or subscribe to a monthly plan (as I did) so you can set up as many reminders and tasks as you need.  And what’s really cool is that you only need to subscribe to one plan, and you can link your other email addresses to it.

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