controlling email

I love being organized. It allows me to focus on the important stuff and keep and clear mind.  Email is such a huge part of our lives, and if neglected, it can get out of control.  Personally I try to keep my inbox all read and with less than 12 emails in it. Now, over the course of the day, it doesn’t stay this way, but before I leave at night, I get it back down.

When I work with a client or co-worker and glance over to thousands of emails in their inbox, no folders, and tons of unread messages, I cringe. How can that be effective? Aren’t you worried you are missing something? I have always wanted to share the comfort of an organized inbox with them, but since we all have such different jobs,  needs, and personal ways of working, the system that works for me, probably won’t work for them.

Finally, today, I came across a write up that keeps it simple and flexible, The Quest for the Nearly Empty In-Box.

Here are some tips on how to control your inbox (some from the article and some from me)

  • Turn off notifications - By only checking email once or twice an hour, you can stay focused on your tasks and then when it is time, focused on your email.
  • Make time for email everyday, spend 20-30 minutes really focused on reading and organizing
  • Delete emails you don’t need -I heard an interesting point a while back, we don’t save voice mails, why do we feel we need to save all emails?
  • If the email requires an action that takes less than two minutes, do it right now (David Allen’s GTD rule) then delete or file the email
  • Use folders or labels - with great search tools available now, you don’t need to file by client, try filing by action (to_do) or group (internal), test it out and see what works best for you.
  • Kill the email receipt - it’s annoying for all involved and creates unnecessary emails.
  • Utilize project collaboration tools - we are huge fans of Basecamp, a great benefit of using the system is you can delete the 15 responses and chatter in a thread, but know that the conversation is safe and archived inside the project.
Posted in Tips and Tricks |

One Response to “controlling email”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Kevin Rose has a great way save time on emails, write only 1 sentence responses and add a signature that says sent from an iphone.

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