Email Management Tips

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Horton
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Email Management Tips

Post by Horton »

I did a search and couldn’t find anything posted on the topic of approaches to manage email at work. Unfortunately, I’m a bit neurotic about my email inbox and it drives me crazy from time to time. I don’t like leaving a bunch of messages in my inbox, so each message requires an action - leave it in the inbox, move it to another folder, store it, or respond. I recently created a “when I have time” folder where I throw emails that I want to ignore or are on a topic that’s interesting but it’s unlikely I will have time to read or take action. The end result is that I basically ignore these, which is desired.

I also go through spurts where I binge unsubscribing from regular emails that I never look at.

I manage to do a good job managing the big and important projects...but I find email exhausting and often distracting.

I see some people at work who have inboxes with 5,000+ messages and I’m simultaneously repulsed and jealous. :P

P.S. - after this thread runs its course, I may start another on the topic of managing your work calendar. I’ve recently been playing around with techniques to protect my time.
livesoft
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by livesoft »

I treat e-mail exactly like paper: Touch a piece of paper only once.
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Horton
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Horton »

livesoft wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:56 pm I treat e-mail exactly like paper: Touch a piece of paper only once.
So, you’re one of those with a 5,000+ message inbox because you never touch them?
livesoft
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by livesoft »

Horton wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:59 pmSo, you’re one of those with a 5,000+ message inbox because you never touch them?
Yep.
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jebmke
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by jebmke »

my Gmail inbox has over 30,000 emails.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
onourway
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by onourway »

I have only 4 possible actions with an email:

- Read
- Read and respond
- Read and flag for follow up
- Delete

There is no point in filing emails into different folders anymore because search is far more powerful than any filing system ever can be.

If your email is distracting you during the day, take an action to limit your access.
- Switch to an email program or provider with a focused inbox, and only get notifications for the important stuff
- Set periods ranging from 30 minutes to several hours (some people can get away with all day) during which email is closed and off. Set a specific time period or two during the day when you specifically deal with email.
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unclescrooge
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by unclescrooge »

Horton wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:50 pm I did a search and couldn’t find anything posted on the topic of approaches to manage email at work. Unfortunately, I’m a bit neurotic about my email inbox and it drives me crazy from time to time. I don’t like leaving a bunch of messages in my inbox, so each message requires an action - leave it in the inbox, move it to another folder, store it, or respond. I recently created a “when I have time” folder where I throw emails that I want to ignore or are on a topic that’s interesting but it’s unlikely I will have time to read or take action. The end result is that I basically ignore these, which is desired.

I also go through spurts where I binge unsubscribing from regular emails that I never look at.

I manage to do a good job managing the big and important projects...but I find email exhausting and often distracting.

I see some people at work who have inboxes with 5,000+ messages and I’m simultaneously repulsed and jealous. :P

P.S. - after this thread runs its course, I may start another on the topic of managing your work calendar. I’ve recently been playing around with techniques to protect my time.
Why can't you leave emails in your inbox? Don't pretend inbox zero makes you more productive, because that isn't true.

You should be reading emails no more than 4 times a day. Anything that requires a lengthy response should be tackled later in the day. Use your morning brain power to do actual work.
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Bogle7
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Bogle7 »

I have 7 emails in my inbox.
Be ruthless.
Morgan22
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Morgan22 »

I treat my inbox like my to do list. Same with sent box. Once the task is complete, or redirected to the correct person to deal with the task, it gets deleted.
Nearly A Moose
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Nearly A Moose »

I’m a loose adherent to the Getting Thing Done approach. For me for emails, that basically means periodically sweeping through everything, act on everything that can be done in two minutes or less, and file the rest with an entry in my to list. The result pushes me toward inbox zero, but not because I view inbox zero as any sort of goal in and of itself, it just means my system is working. I must have at least tens of thousands of emails in my system at this point, at least; there’s simply no way that a general “I’ll just search my inbox” approach can handle that if your involves any significant degree of long-term projects or the need to find historical information (and I’ve definitely tried).

I can tell when I’m managing my workflow well and being productive because I have few emails in my inbox. Conversely, I can tell if I’m jammed up with an emergency because they pile up. So it requires sometimes devoting an hour to bulk processing things, but it’s worth it.

I’m toying with the idea of converting my personal gmail back into a system like that too. It’s just so much easier for me to manage.

Edit to add: it also helps to “train” your colleagues to use the proper form of communication for the information. I have a phone, email, office chat app, text message, and (until recently and hopefully again sometime) an office with a guest chair. Each works best for a given type of communication, and it helps tremendously when they’re used properly.
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ronno2018
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by ronno2018 »

I have to say I am amazed when I see colleagues with so many unread messages in their email inbox, but amazingly they do great work!

No idea how it happens, I am way more neurotic about deleting and replying. Maybe I should give a lazy inbox a try. I am going to retire soon anyway LOL. :sharebeer
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warner25
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by warner25 »

The only items in my inbox are unread or requiring some action. Everything else gets deleted after I read it and take action if necessary. So ideally my inbox is empty at the end of the day.

I used to keep stuff in my inbox that seemed like it might contain important information (especially attachments) for later, but I found that it was just clutter and a waste of mental energy to predict if something might be important later. If I do need something later, I can usually pull it from the trash which keeps it around for another 90 days (beyond 90 days is ancient history in my work), or I can pull it from my sent mail (because I reply to most important emails). I keep all my sent mail in case I ever need to prove what I said or did later. After twelve years with my employer using this system, I still have about half my storage quota available whereas many coworkers are constantly up against the limit.

This year I spent time applying filters to delete most email that comes to me through automated systems or various distribution lists, because I realized that it was just distracting and time-consuming to delete manually every day. If I miss something important, I figure that I will hear about it eventually through other channels.
mega317
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by mega317 »

I’m not clear on exactly what is your issue. Do you want an organization system? Are emails distracting you from important work you should be doing? Are you just sick of getting so many?

The answer depends also on your work and expectations. Some people are expected to respond quickly at any time to the boss or a client or whatever.

I prefer to delay responding to almost everything. The nature of my work is that essentially nothing is urgent on a scale of hours. If it’s going to be a back and forth or I want a quick resolution I make a phone call. In a group thread many things sort themselves out if I just wait.

I also CLOSE outlook and set a timer for next time I’m going to check. I try to save email processing for the end of the day. That lets me use my most energetic time on real work. I will check for home but almost never take any action. I should just stop checking.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
inbox788
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by inbox788 »

We're all overwhelmed by email. I ignore anything that's automatically sent, or sent to more than 2 people. Someone else will take care of it, or they'll contact you by other means if it's really that important. OCD types seek help.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect

Oh, if it's CC to your boss, his boss and his bosses boss, you might want to prioritize it.
Horton wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:50 pmI don’t like leaving a bunch of messages in my inbox, so each message requires an action - leave it in the inbox, move it to another folder, store it, or respond. I recently created a “when I have time” folder where I throw emails that I want to ignore or are on a topic that’s interesting but it’s unlikely I will have time to read or take action. The end result is that I basically ignore these, which is desired.

I also go through spurts where I binge unsubscribing from regular emails that I never look at.
You should just delete the "when I have time" folder and send those straight to the trash. If you find the time (which you never will) before the trash is emptied automatically, you have ignored it enough. Create a "stuff I probably won't get to" and send important stuff there that you can't get done immediately.

Unsubscribing is good. Not subscribing in the first place is better. Sometimes it's action you take. Other times, others sign you up. I recently had Fidelity add me to one of their junk newsletters, and they didn't offer a way to just unsubscribe to one, so I killed them all, and hopefully won't hear from them again at all except for account relevant updates. I've had merchants dig up 5 or 10 year old mailing lists out of the blue.

On a personal note, I switch emails often and drop companies I don't want to hear from, only carrying forward those companies I want to continue doing business. Harder to do that with work, unless you can switch work emails the same way.

Inbox was an app that was quite revolutionary at the time, but no longer available. Some features have been adopted, like the snooze feature.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inbox_by_Gmail
I tried it a while, and it was cool seeing an empty inbox, but I couldn't keep up the discipline, and the volume of mail was just overwhelming. I just keep snoozing more and more, like the alarm clock when you haven't gotten enough sleep. Like junk mail, it's an ever present problem we just have to learn to live with.

I'm OCD about opening physical envelopes even when I'm 100% sure it's junk, but I delete emails by sender and subject.
Last edited by inbox788 on Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
000
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by 000 »

Consider a three bucket approach: inbox for outstanding to-dos, archived/read for completed tasks, trash for e-mail never needed to begin with.
Kelrex
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Kelrex »

I read and act on everything immediately when I dedicate time to my emails.

By act on it, I mean that I delete it, respond to it, or add an entry to my task manager.
coalcracker
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by coalcracker »

1. Delete immediately: spam that leaked through, other emails that I know I will not need in the future
2. Read and keep: anything that has a .01% chance I will need to access the information in it at some point in the future, I just leave it in my inbox. This has saved me a number of major headaches by being able to search for and find an email that is sometimes a few years old.
3. Read and reply (or mark as unread for a later reply): I often check email on my phone, and can filter by unread messages. Makes it quick to reply to them when I have a free moment.
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prudent
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by prudent »

Some off-topic posts were removed.
armeliusc
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by armeliusc »

Most of my work email is one of these:
1. Informational only: I read the email and leave it in my inbox. If it's "junk", or information I don't care about, delete.
2. A request for me to do something. Then,
A. If I think it would takes less than 2 min or less, I just do it and reply thenn.
B. If it requires some thinking or some work for me that takes longer, I add it to my ToDo list.
The A / B rules has exception of course, e.g. if it's really urgent, if I were solicited for opinion on something I don't care (I just ignore) or really care (then I try to respond immediately), etc.

I try to protect my work email for email that only directly concerns me. I don't subscribe to mailing lists, etc, even if it's work related, using my work address.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by SmileyFace »

work email - I stopped manually sorting years ago (takes too much time - limited benefit) - I simply use search features if I need to go back and find something in my inbox, I flag items I need to take action on, have rules to autosort stuff to lists into folders since I know I don't need to look at those right away. I Flush inbox at end of year into an archive.
Personal email - save reciepts/confirmation-emails into a reciepts folder - delete most everything else after reading. I have a few other folders for a few topics of stuff I want to keep.
NYCaviator
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by NYCaviator »

I found a system that works very well for me. I keep a minimal inbox and try to clear it at the end of each day. If there’s something I need to respond to, I do. Otherwise I delete the email or move it to a “Later” folder. I also ask my assistant and other staff in my office not to cc me on emails unless they specifically need a response from me, and then I prefer a call or text if it’s quick. This cuts down on a HUGE amount of emails going back and forth, especially about scheduling meetings.

I am also not ashamed to delete emails. Unless the email requires a response from me, I archive it. In the new version of Outlook, the archive feature is a game changer. The emails all go to one central archive that is searchable. As someone mentioned above, Outlook search is very powerful so if you later need an email, just search for it.

If you have the newest version of Outlook (365 subscription) there are some amazing features. Microsoft has worked in the Cortana digital assistant so you can cc it on a scheduling email to someone else and then they communicate back and forth with Cortana and the appointment appears on your calendar. You can also add settings for “deep work” each week where Outlook automatically blocks off time for you to get things done without interruptions.

I think companies are finally realizing that email is horrible. What could be a 2 minute phone call turns into an unwieldy email thread back and forth. Thankfully, tech companies are coming up with solutions to change that. There are an abundance of apps to help schedule things, share files with teams, etc.
matthewbarnhart
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by matthewbarnhart »

I achieved Inbox Zero in 2007 and haven't looked back since. Seriously one of the greatest things I've ever done, up there with index funds and comfortable bicycles.
mrmass
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by mrmass »

I let them stay. Don't get me started on people that send an email cc themselves. Now you have dupes.
JBTX
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by JBTX »

Horton wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:50 pm I did a search and couldn’t find anything posted on the topic of approaches to manage email at work. Unfortunately, I’m a bit neurotic about my email inbox and it drives me crazy from time to time. I don’t like leaving a bunch of messages in my inbox, so each message requires an action - leave it in the inbox, move it to another folder, store it, or respond. I recently created a “when I have time” folder where I throw emails that I want to ignore or are on a topic that’s interesting but it’s unlikely I will have time to read or take action. The end result is that I basically ignore these, which is desired.

I also go through spurts where I binge unsubscribing from regular emails that I never look at.

I manage to do a good job managing the big and important projects...but I find email exhausting and often distracting.

I see some people at work who have inboxes with 5,000+ messages and I’m simultaneously repulsed and jealous. :P

P.S. - after this thread runs its course, I may start another on the topic of managing your work calendar. I’ve recently been playing around with techniques to protect my time.
I generally follow your approach. I keep things I need to act on in my inbox. Once complete, I moved it to a specific classified subfolder. If it is an FYI email and if it has any value I'll put that in a subfolder. If there are things that I don't need to act on right away, or at all, but don't want to delete. I may put it in a "hold" folder.

My work inbox will vary from 20 to 200 emails. My home is nkt nearly as disciplined.
carolinaman
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by carolinaman »

000 wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:43 am Consider a three bucket approach: inbox for outstanding to-dos, archived/read for completed tasks, trash for e-mail never needed to begin with.
+1. Good simple approach. One problem I have is that if I do not act on an email within a week or so, it kind of drops off my radar. I have noticed that with other people as well.
15202guy
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by 15202guy »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:53 am In the new version of Outlook, the archive feature is a game changer. The emails all go to one central archive that is searchable. As someone mentioned above, Outlook search is very powerful so if you later need an email, just search for it.
How is this a game changer? How is it different than using a normal folder that you create for the purpose of archiving email?
Kelrex
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Kelrex »

carolinaman wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:08 am
000 wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:43 am Consider a three bucket approach: inbox for outstanding to-dos, archived/read for completed tasks, trash for e-mail never needed to begin with.
+1. Good simple approach. One problem I have is that if I do not act on an email within a week or so, it kind of drops off my radar. I have noticed that with other people as well.
Does your email have a way to organize taskings? Preferably by priority and deadline?
squirm
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by squirm »

I never delete email, unless it's from someone I hate.
inbox788
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by inbox788 »

Kelrex wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:45 am
carolinaman wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:08 am
000 wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:43 am Consider a three bucket approach: inbox for outstanding to-dos, archived/read for completed tasks, trash for e-mail never needed to begin with.
+1. Good simple approach. One problem I have is that if I do not act on an email within a week or so, it kind of drops off my radar. I have noticed that with other people as well.
Does your email have a way to organize taskings? Preferably by priority and deadline?
Gmail lets you mark important mail with a yellow Star.

It also has an Important flag that Google magic is trying to help you, but so far that's not been too accurate for me and not worth the time to try to train.
https://medium.com/@shubhamagr/what-is- ... c059df7f3a

If you like the yellow Star, there's a hidden expansion pack.
https://www.pcworld.com/article/2909257 ... mails.html
Kelrex
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Kelrex »

inbox788 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:37 pm
Kelrex wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:45 am
carolinaman wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:08 am
000 wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:43 am Consider a three bucket approach: inbox for outstanding to-dos, archived/read for completed tasks, trash for e-mail never needed to begin with.
+1. Good simple approach. One problem I have is that if I do not act on an email within a week or so, it kind of drops off my radar. I have noticed that with other people as well.
Does your email have a way to organize taskings? Preferably by priority and deadline?
Gmail lets you mark important mail with a yellow Star.

It also has an Important flag that Google magic is trying to help you, but so far that's not been too accurate for me and not worth the time to try to train.
https://medium.com/@shubhamagr/what-is- ... c059df7f3a

If you like the yellow Star, there's a hidden expansion pack.
https://www.pcworld.com/article/2909257 ... mails.html
I use Monday.com, so I categorize everything according to priority, urgency, deadline, and person involved. I can't stand an inbox full of things that require action and no clear way to organize that action.
Normchad
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Normchad »

I used to read all my email. But I just can't keep up with it all anymore; so I don't even try.

Most emails aren't worth reading anyway.....

Now, I just focus on getting stuff done that needs to get done. I peruse the emails once or twice a day just to keep on top of things...... But I'm not concerned if I miss things.

Things that really require my attention, will find their way to get my attention eventually.....

LPT: Responding to emails just begets more emails. I try to limit the number I send, and the number of people who get them so that I don't contribute to the email tsunami that is destroying productivity......
mega317
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by mega317 »

Normchad wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:18 pm Things that really require my attention, will find their way to get my attention eventually.....
Man I wish this was the case for me. I work at a hospital and it's always been a problem, but much worse with covid. It's been such a fluid situation. An example is I'll get a mass email with new guidelines for PPE or some such thing. No one knows or cares if I don't see it but if not I'm out of date.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
Dude2
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Dude2 »

In the early days email was such an amazing tool for an engineering team. You could use it as an historical record of the decisions made on the program, the technical reasons for selecting A path versus B path, all of the minutiae of detail that propelled things in a particular direction. Schematics were exchanged, code, deep thoughts, etc. As an engineering tool, it was second to none...then the lawyers got involved. Companies did not want to be liable x number of years later for decisions that were made with copious documentation that could be spun in various ways, out of context, to support a particular stance. Rules were put in place to auto-delete after 7 years. Training for compliance came into it, email suffered, and it will probably never return to its former glory. It was looked down upon, and suddenly managers favored the phone call so nothing they said was ever put into writing. This helps to explain why it has such a negative context in the workplace and why people are able now to get away with ignoring it.

I still view it as important and integral to my job. I simply keep subfolders. As it comes in, I sort it. I will leave one representative email on a particular topic in my inbox as a reminder that something needs to be done. When that is finally completed, I put that into its subfolder.

Spam is almost immediately dealt with -- by spam I mean marketing. There's a special place in hell for those people.

The worst part for me is the multitude of corporate emails. I might read the subject line. Otherwise, shift delete.
Henceforth I’ll bear Affliction till it do cry out itself, “Enough, enough,” and die.
MarkBarb
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by MarkBarb »

I use gmail and I rely heavily on archiving. When a message comes in, I usually either delete it or archive it. If it is something that will require action today, I might leave it in my inbox until I've taken that action. If it requires action, but not today, I usually snooze it for whatever period seems appropriate. Sometimes a message will get snoozed several times until I get around to dealing with it or giving up and just deleting/archiving it. The benefit of this approach is that my inbox is always just new mail and stuff I want to take action on soon.

Does that make me more productive? Maybe. The main thing it does for me is to prevent things that require action from getting lost. They are either one of the few things sitting in my inbox or they will pop back into my inbox soon.

As for organizing, I gave up on that years and years ago. I found that search works better than organized folders and too many messages span categories for a category system to work well.

I also go through purges where I'll aggressively unsubscribe or block messages that I know longer want to see. It's amazing how quickly these build back up. It seems like every entity that gets your e-mail address assumes that you want to get at least one message a day from them. If they were smart and kept that to one a month, I'd probably never do anything about it and they'd get my attention for a moment every month. By trying to get my attention daily, they lose it completely.
Kelrex
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Kelrex »

mega317 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:27 pm
Normchad wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:18 pm Things that really require my attention, will find their way to get my attention eventually.....
Man I wish this was the case for me. I work at a hospital and it's always been a problem, but much worse with covid. It's been such a fluid situation. An example is I'll get a mass email with new guidelines for PPE or some such thing. No one knows or cares if I don't see it but if not I'm out of date.
Same.
If I ignored my emails, very very bad things would happen to people.

It depends on the job and the work environment.
NYCaviator
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by NYCaviator »

15202guy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:11 am
NYCaviator wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:53 am In the new version of Outlook, the archive feature is a game changer. The emails all go to one central archive that is searchable. As someone mentioned above, Outlook search is very powerful so if you later need an email, just search for it.
How is this a game changer? How is it different than using a normal folder that you create for the purpose of archiving email?
First, its one button to archive an email. If you use a folder you are going to have to manually drag the email there. Second, the way outlook handles archives is different. You can set retention policies, how it stores on server vs. cloud, etc. Its like a better "deleted items" folder.
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warner25
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by warner25 »

Normchad wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:18 pm ...Reponding to emails just begets more emails...
Oh, this is good! Just like replying to spam; it tells the spammers that you are there. Email definitely exhibits exponential growth. Better to make a direct phone call than to reply all.
15202guy
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by 15202guy »

NYCaviator wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:00 pm First, its one button to archive an email. If you use a folder you are going to have to manually drag the email there. Second, the way outlook handles archives is different. You can set retention policies, how it stores on server vs. cloud, etc. Its like a better "deleted items" folder.
Thanks. I will look into it further. FYI, moving an email to a folder can be a 1-click operation, too, by adding the folder to the QuickSteps area on the ribbon, or with a keyboard shortcut (I forget the default because I've remapped a bunch of mine...but I think it might be control-W).
BradJ
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by BradJ »

I search for key words that I know are in emails I can easily delete. For example, in my office about 20-30 people will send you a “Happy Birthday” e-mail to you or maybe someone in the group with everyone attached. So every 3 months, I’ll search for “birthday” and delete all the emails that contain the word.
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PalmQueen
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by PalmQueen »

inbox788 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:37 pm If you like the yellow Star, there's a hidden expansion pack.
https://www.pcworld.com/article/2909257 ... mails.html
Great tip! Thanks for sharing.
Hypersion
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Hypersion »

I use a modified GTD system if I can't do something in two minutes I move the email to has a @TODO folder, @WAITINGFOR folder, an Archive folder, or delete it.

With sending emails you have to use CC to CYA or to force a reply back from people.
Last edited by Hypersion on Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
NYCaviator
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by NYCaviator »

15202guy wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:09 am
NYCaviator wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:00 pm First, its one button to archive an email. If you use a folder you are going to have to manually drag the email there. Second, the way outlook handles archives is different. You can set retention policies, how it stores on server vs. cloud, etc. Its like a better "deleted items" folder.
Thanks. I will look into it further. FYI, moving an email to a folder can be a 1-click operation, too, by adding the folder to the QuickSteps area on the ribbon, or with a keyboard shortcut (I forget the default because I've remapped a bunch of mine...but I think it might be control-W).
Learned something new, thanks!
mega317
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by mega317 »

Hypersion wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:49 pm With sending emails you have to use CC to CYA or to force a reply back from people.
Nicely said. Unfortunate but true.

Rarely one gets the opportunity to continue the thread only with the CCed people, cutting out the original sender. If appropriate, it is enjoyable.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
HoosierJim
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by HoosierJim »

Horton wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:50 pm I see some people at work who have inboxes with 5,000+ messages and I’m simultaneously repulsed and jealous. :P
11K - see below - that's just one gmail work account - the other work account is about 6000 unread.

5000 unread emails is for amateurs. Happily ignoring emails since 1978.
The first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson to himself in 1971. "The test messages were entirely forgettable. . . . Most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP or something similar," he said.

Image
Last edited by HoosierJim on Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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rob
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by rob »

I've been down the hyper organized, filing sub-folder hell, dynamic views based on keywords etc. Now seriously in the ONE INBOX method.....
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
Hypersion
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by Hypersion »

mega317 wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:32 pm
Hypersion wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:49 pm With sending emails you have to use CC to CYA or to force a reply back from people.
Nicely said. Unfortunate but true.

Rarely one gets the opportunity to continue the thread only with the CCed people, cutting out the original sender. If appropriate, it is enjoyable.
Every new job I've started I tried to stop with CC-Hell but I guess its human nature. The last job I was at I almost CC the CEO just to get a document sent. I've also been deleting email when asked to do work out of scope unless my manager specifically tells me to do it. The older I get the more I understand why older worker co-workers act how they do.
BigMoneyGrip
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by BigMoneyGrip »

mrmass wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:44 am I let them stay. Don't get me started on people that send an email cc themselves. Now you have dupes.
What about people who mark every message as urgent and request return receipts?
dak
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by dak »

My email management became much easier when I realized one important fact - I essentially never needed old emails. Once that dawned on me, I took my bulging inbox and simply put all of the emails older than a week into a junk folder. Those emails were never looked at again. The rest I used the "touch only once" procedure and simply kept up with things. I was ruthless in deleting the endless corporate drivel.

I had been obsessively filing emails and staying organized, but once I realized that emails are more like hallway conversations than important documents with a real need to be archived, life became simpler. BTW - in the case of lawsuits or the like, my former employer archived all email communications, so I figured that someone else could retrieve all of the data if required. It became Not My Problem.
hilink73
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by hilink73 »

Some great posts!

I've already read about going through your emails and deciding if it's a 2 min thing, do it, put it on a to do list, delegate it, delete it, etc.
What I've found nowhere are criteria on which to actually decide what to do, which I sometimes struggle with.
E. g. do I really have to act on it? Can I delegate it (or are the instructions needed to actually explain the task taking longer than doing it by myself?)

Most of my emails are rarely done under 2 minutes. Often, I do have to read it, understand it (technical topics), decide, if I need more info, and craft a reply which would mostly be written in maybe half an hour. This leads to blocking a time slot in my calendar to actually reserve time for the task. To many tasks, not enough time slots for a regular day. :-(

Aside:
I'm also advising my employees to draft a quick powerpoint (situation, solutions, recommendation, decision) and schedule a meeting/telco, because discussing the issue is much quicker with a prepared (and well though through) presentation than having dozens of emails going back-and-forth.

Had inbox 0 before my vacation, now idling at 150 and going down.

How are you guys approaching this?
hilink73
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Re: Email Management Tips

Post by hilink73 »

BigMoneyGrip wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:52 am
mrmass wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:44 am I let them stay. Don't get me started on people that send an email cc themselves. Now you have dupes.
What about people who mark every message as urgent and request return receipts?
Out of principle, I never acknowledge a return receipt. What for?

Also, most people do not understand email as a medium. There's no guarantee of delivery (because of how email as a protocol works), so how could it be "urgent"?
If it's really urgent, make a phone call.
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