Good email management is vital for any business. If you have multiple email addresses, especially, you may find it difficult keeping track.
As a Virtual Assistant, I have access to numerous client email accounts, which means that I have lost of different logins to keep track of. However, with the use of a free programme called Thunderbird, I keep all my emails in one easy place and can manage them all much more easily then I would separately.
What is Thunderbird?
Thunderbird is an open source and free-to-use email application. It’s developed by Mozilla, who you might know as the creators of the Firefox browser.
As well as its primary function, it also works as a calendar, task list, address book and more.
While talk of IMAPs, SSLs and server settings may at first sound daunting, for the majority of people, setting up Thunderbird is really easy and often automatic. A lot of the time, if you simply add your email address and password, Thunderbird will automatically identify the settings required. If not, simply search Google for ‘Thunderbird configuration’, plus the name of your email host, and you’ll be given all the information you need. Follow the on-screen instructions and you’re on your way!
You can repeat this with as many emails as you like, so they’re all neatly arranged and ready for you to go through.
It’s always a good idea to go through the settings on each account as you set it up, to make sure everything works as it should. Right click on your email address and then click Settings. Go through each of the options and edit them as necessary. At the very least, you’ll probably want to add an email signature.
Another thing to check is that you’re not not accidentally downloading thousands of old emails.
Thunderbird basically downloads your emails onto your computer for you to deal with. If you have lots of emails or emails with heavy attachments, this can be quite demanding on your computer memory, and it can slow your computer down for a LONG time while it synchronises everything. I made this mistake when I first started using Thunderbird and nearly gave up on the entire programme before I figured out that this was my problem!
Click on Synchronisation & Storage and select how far you want to go back under Synchronise the most recent. I set 30 days and, if I want anything earlier, I can just log onto my account via the relevant web portal.
You can then also choose to delete emails after a certain number of days, although do be aware that this means deleting them completely (i.e. they’ll no longer show on your web portal either).
Using Thunderbird for Emails
Now that you have Thunderbird set up, you’re good to go. If you’re a little paranoid like me, you might like to test sending some emails, just to make sure everything’s working as it should. Don’t be surprised if it takes a few minutes for emails to show up, though. That’s completely normal. Usually, things come through pretty fast, though.
Any folders that you have online should also show on Thunderbird. If you don’t have your emails organised in a filing system, now might be the time to think of setting it up. It’s a great way of finding older emails when you need them, of keeping your main inbox free, and of assigning emails to different users.
If you have multiple people using the same account, you can create a folder each for them, and drag and drop emails that you want them to deal with.
Alternatively, if you have several people in your business using different email addresses, you can add them all onto Thunderbird and drag and drop emails between accounts in order to assign them to each person.
There are lots of features available – plus a whole array of add-ons – and, like any new programme, it’s a good idea to have a play first before using it in earnest.
Ready to get going? Download Thunderbird.
If you’re still struggling to keep on top of your emails now could be the perfect time to hire a virtual assistant.
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