As the Chief of Product of a thriving and growing company, time management is a critical skill. On top of that, I'm also a wife, a mom to a preschooler (without a preschool) and a newborn, while serving as a Senior Advisor for a VC firm and an Advisory board member for a non-profit organization. 
As I find myself moving to a new house in the middle of a pandemic, I have been juggling a schedule full of commitments that change every day. Staying afloat and moving forward means that I'm always working on ways to get through my Inbox and to stop wasting time on an endless stream of emails. 
There have been thousands of articles written about email, and every one of them shares the same few tips written differently. And yet they all miss the mark when it comes to the day-to-day realities that working moms face.
I want to share the real-life methods that I use to keep myself organized:

1. Use Your Calendar

I know that this is supposed to be about email management, but not losing control of your day in this chaotic time starts with a well-managed calendar. This might seem obvious, but it's incredible how easy it is to let your calendar own you instead of the other way around. 
My virtual live yoga class, the five minutes I need to set my son up for his Zoom classes (or the occasional 15 minutes I’d need to help him catch roly polies for his backyard habitat class), the founder networking calls with fellow founders or startups I’m reviewing to invest as an Angel Investor, the two-hour late-night board meetings for Build a School in Burma (the non-profit organization I advise)... The list goes on, and it all has to live in my calendar! 
One of the most important times I reserve on my calendar is my “Brain Defrag” time. I block out at least 15 minutes at the end of each day to give myself some time to: 
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2. Pause Your Email

It might seem funny that someone who started an email productivity company would tell you to pause your inbox, but it's something that I do every day. It allows me to create space for uninterrupted deep work time. Smart tools like Boomerang’s Inbox Pause will even enable your critical emails to reach you when your inbox is paused using the exceptions you create.

3. Own Your Inbox

Smart technologies let you set reminders for important meetings, deadlines, and dates, and then archive messages until you need them. When that specific time comes around, the email comes back to your inbox. Cleaning up your inbox means that you can focus on what matters instead of the clutter. 

4. Schedule Meetings Like A Pro

Did you know that it takes an average of eight emails to schedule a meeting? EIGHT emails back and forth to accommodate ever-changing availability is such a waste of time. Stop relying on this outdated method and start implementing smart tools to do the hard work for you by suggesting meeting times based on your schedule in real-time. 

5. Batch Processing

We working moms are experts at multitasking. But we can still fall victim to an overloaded inbox on an, especially busy day. Research shows that in 20 minutes, you should be able to clear over 50 emails from your inbox. Start at the top and work your way through emails from coworkers, clients, and then down to things like branded newsletters. If an email requires more than three minutes to handle, archive it, and address it later, as long as it's not urgent. 

6. Write Better

If you are thinking, “of course, everyone wants to write better!”, I promise this isn't some fluffy tip that has no place in the real world. Remember back in school when you learned how to write different styles of papers? Narration, persuasion, description, and exposition all have their place in emails as well. 
Each email should have a goal, and you should stick to it. Every time you write an email--before you write a single word--ask yourself, "what’s the point of this email?” Have it clear in your mind and make sure what you write conveys precisely that.
I use an AI-powered assistant to help me keep my word count low, my positivity and subjectivity in check, and tell me how likely my email will get a response. Sometimes I'm writing because I need a reply, and other times I want to end a conversation. By focusing on the words that I use and getting better at how I use them, I've found myself fielding less back-and-forth email. 

7. Focus on the Process

The full piece of advice is to "focus on the process, not the results." When you focus on things you control and do your best every day, the results will follow. When I'm giving email tips to you, these are the processes that I follow every single day. As I got better with them, better results became the natural byproduct. 
This is so relevant to working moms because we're often pulled in different directions. When you break down the critical parts of your day into processes, you can measure how well they are functioning and then further optimize them. 
When Alex and I decided to start a family, we knew that doing so required both of us to change how we worked. Building a company can seem a lot like being a parent, but juggling actual parenthood at the same time has given me a newfound respect for time management. By building a process and making sure to follow it, I keep finding new successes no matter which hat I'm wearing at the time. 
Time is the only thing in life that we can't make more of. We should feel empowered to prioritize ruthlessly and continually optimize how we use it. 


Aye Moah