Archive for June, 2011

HOWTO: Successfully Manage Your Email Like a Jedi

email inbox spam trashI receive a lot of email. A LOT, across at least five (5) personal email accounts and one (1) internal work email account. I see something along the lines of 300-500 emails every single day, of which about 80% require my personal attention or response.

Without the ability to aggressively manage the volume of incoming email, I’d be drowning in a very full email Inboxes across all of my accounts in a few days.

I’m going to attempt how to describe how I’ve been managing my email for a long as I’ve been writing it using a keyboard instead of an inked nib pen (~20 years now). This may be redundant for some, but extremely useful for many. I’ve been asked to write this blog post from people who wonder how I am able to stay so responsive to emails and day-to-day changes that happen without getting overwhelmed.

Some of these concepts are very basic, general concepts.. which you’ll see rehashed in many other productivity and management systems. I’m a proponent of the GTD System by David Allen, so some of these have been modified over the years to help me utilize that system.

There are 5 paths where email should go, always. No more, no less. They are:

  1. Do
  2. Delegate
  3. Defer
  4. Delete
  5. Archive

The most-important thing is that a single email should never be read more than once, unless it is archived away for research purposes. Read it once, process it, and never worry about it again.

Let’s go through the steps in detail, one by one.

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