This week I made a change in the way I manage email: I moved to a GMail like system for storing email.
Here is how I handle the single email:
- Can I delegate? If yes write down a note for my next One On One or forward it. If necessary put a reminder in the calendar on a give date for getting feedback. Move the email out of the inbox.
- Can I do it immediately? If yes do it! Move the email out of the inbox.
- If I cannot delegate or do it immediately, reserve time in the calendar to do it. Keep the email in the inbox with a reference to the calendar item (nice feature of MS Outlook). After processed, move the email out of the inbox
The change is in the way I move stuff out of the inbox. In the past I used to file email in different folders according to the business area this email was related to. Lately I’ve realized that I never go to folders to look for email, I just search …. so why is any form of ‘physical’ classification needed? Now I move email away from the inbox and I put it on a single Archive folder and use the search capability of the client to find what’s needed.
Other tricks I use:
- I have filters for mailing lists: those emails are automatically moved to another subfolder (MailingLists) and I read them if I have time.
At night, before leaving, I anyway “mark as read” all of them.
- I have views (another great feature) in my client highlighting different categories of email: Boss (all unread emails from my boss-es), To Me (all unread emails where I am in the To: line), Cc Me (all unread emails where I am in the Cc line).
Depending on the time I have, I read emails using these view, in this order: Boss, To Me, CC Me, all the rest
- In any case, before leaving, all the Boss and To Me are read.
Do you want to share your way’?