Financial Professionals: Let’s Write an Article on Productivity Together!

Dear Financial Advisors, CPAs, Accountants, Benefits Managers, Bookkeepers, Insurance Agents, etc.


I haven’t done this since 2003, when I wrote a Top 10 Article on the Ways to Say No to Freebie Seekers…

I’d like your top two tips for saving time in regards to EMAIL. For each tip I use, I’ll credit you (your name, title, website URL and twitter account).

Below are a few tips in the right format (title, paragraph, your name, title, website twitter account URL):

Create a REMOVE Folder

Always unsubscribe to newsletters you realize you don’t want. However, instead of taking the time out to find the unsubscribe link, then make sure the link really did unsubscribe you etc, do this instead. Create a REMOVE folder in your inbox. Quickly move any unwanted emails into that folder. Then each ____ you pick the day ____ (I like Friday afternoons) go into that folder and unsubscribe to anything you no longer want.
Please create your tip in the form of a paragraph. If you have a title for it, provide it. If not, I’ll provide one for you. You can send me your tip by hitting reply. Thanks much! I’ll let you know if your suggestion has been chosen and tell you when it’s on my blog for you to share OR use on your blog, too.
— Maria Marsala, Business Coach to Financial Advisors, >@mariamarsala


Here are a few tips I’ve received from my newsletter subscribers and LinkedIn followers:

Automatic Emails

I create ‘standard’ email responses for questions I consistently receive.  I maintain these responses as Drafts in Outlook  Then, when a question comes in, I click on the draft, forward the email, take out the “FW:”, customize as necessary and hit send.  HUGE time saver.
— Kim Bryant, CPA, Lincoln, NE @bryantcpa

[Maria’s comment: I send myself the email and maintain them in a folder called AutoMessages].

Create Rules

Use email that come in from certain carriers, vendors, and clients to automatically go to certain staff members.  That way your staff can be informed and help get a jump start on tasks.  Have conversations ahead of time with your staff so it is clear who takes the initiative and responsibility.  You can also use rules to block spam and certain vendors to reduce e-mail clutter.
— Elaine M. Shanley, CFP®, AIF®, Partner at Young and Company, Brooklandville, MD

[Maria’s comment: Spend the time and learn how to use Rules. They will save you oodles of time! Start here:


Just One Click (For MS Outlook 2010 Users)

Is there someone (or a group of someone’s) you often email? Instead of starting to type out their email address and hoping it’s in the list of people you’ve recently emailed, use “Quick Steps”. Introduced in Outlook 2010, you can perform frequently performed Outlook tasks in one click! Quick Steps are located on the Home Ribbon. Leonard send me his instructions on this tip, however, I’m unable to post the photo’s in this article. You can find the instructions on the Microsoft website, here
— Leonard N. Katz, CRC®, RFC®, MFP™,  S K Management Consultants Inc, Long Island, NY

[Maria’s comment: When I finally upgrade, I’ll be using this tip a lot!]

Use the latest tools to streamline your inbox

Most of us are able to keep spam out of out inbox with strong filters  – but what about BACN? – the stuff you have subscribed to and would like to read, if you have time, its just not ‘real email’!   I use a tool called which has a clever system to filter out your non urgent/essential emails automatically. It has saved me countless hours and stress staring at an overflowing email inbox!
— Alan Smith, Capital Asset Management, England & Wales,  @alanjlsmith

[Maria’s comment: Thanks Alan for teaching me about a different type of bacn!]

Dealing With Several Email Accounts

Having a few email accounts, my tip is to make folders in each account along with setting up rules for mail to automatically be moved to each folder. I have folders for each of the associations I’m a member of, each client, prospects, etc. I check my daily and sort what didn’t get in the files. I review emails from client I’m working with that week or association whose meeting I’m attending soon. If I don’t have time to read them in the morning I read them at my leisure at night. Because I use folders, I take care of what most important first and then read the rest later.

Cindy Worden, Founder, Bookkeeping Etc., Piece and Kitsap County, WA

[Maria’s comment: If you use Outlook (and a few other email programs) set up all your emails to come to 1 place. I have a few (older) personal email accounts (using Comcast, Gmail or Yahoo). When I send/receive in Outlook, I automatically get ALL my emails. I also set up a rule so that the mail from each personal account automatically goes into a folder named that email account.]

Submit your tips here, on my blog as a comment, OR send it to me at

NOTE: Only tips from financial advisors, planners, professionals, etc. will make it into my article, but anyone who wants, can contribute a a comment and tip here on my blog.


Maria Marsala

Financial Advisors’ Accountability Coach, Speaker, and former Wall Street Trader


P.S.:  Do you like this idea?  Consider asking your clients to help you create an article on a topic of interest to them! Then send it out in your newsletter (with proper Compliance OK of course)


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