Jan 29, 2010

Managing emails

A critical issue for many of us wanting to improve  individual productivity is how we manage emails . . . e mail on the move ( smart phones etc) ,their sheer volume etc, force many of us to spend significant time (actually a large part of our work time) just processing emails( processing =reading,replying,acting..)

Here is a short list of what can make a difference, based on an analysis of what multiple experts have to say
  • Open your email software only during specific times ..Allocate specific times of the day when you would respond to emails
  • Attempt NOT to process any email twice. Here are some choices that you can do with an email you receive
    • If it is just for information, read and delete/file
    • If needs to be acted on by some else please forward.
      • Please use TASKS or email reminders ( I am assuming you are using Microsoft Outlook) so that due dates and reminders are automatically set
      • Do the same even if it requires action by you
  • Clean up mailing lists you subscribe to
    • Subscribe to digests as much as possible
    • Establish rules to move these mails to specified folders
    • Allot specific time to read/circulate/delete
    • Review list periodically to take chaning interests and focus into account
  • Establish mechanisms that will allow you to retreive quickly
    • A systematic folder structure
    • Use folder names starting with a numerical ( 0,1, 1.1 etc) to create a hierarchy for filing
    • If possible establish a good search engine to index and search your mail ( e.g. google desk top)
  • Analyse email habits and patterns ( heard of a tool called xobni)
  • Ensure that you show discipline in sending out email
    • Have a clear subject line
    • Put in appropriate tags and reminders so that the recepient knows ( for information/for action..)
Inbox zero
Provides some interesting insights on email productivity

Do you have any best practices that you want to share?

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