Email Addiction Part 2
Last week I talked about cleaning out email inboxes in order to mitigate the email addiction problem. Here’s some specific actions for your work inbox.
No personal email. You’re excused if you don’t have a smartphone with you that you can turn on (some people in military or laboratory conditions have to hand their phones in at the beginning of the day – quelle horreur!). Otherwise, everyone from your wife to your best friend can email your personal account. And yes – you need a personal email account!
Use rules to manage the incoming emails and only look at the ones that are important. You don’t need to see a note from HR about changes in the payroll system in 3 months on a day when your project deadline is under threat.
Your inbox is not your task list. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this to people who say ‘I keep that email there so that I’ll remember to do x’. You need a task list, because your email isn’t the only place from which work is coming in. If you get stuff on the phone or your boss gives you a task in person, you have nowhere to put it if you don’t have a task list.
Use a follow up folder make sure a response comes back if you need one. Don’t leave the email in your inbox. Put it in a follow up folder, and then make looking at that folder once a day part of your routine.
Use templates and canned responses. They get you through your email more quickly, meaning you can move on to real work.
Take an hour to really think about your email and how you’re using it. Clean up and implement the rules you need, create the folders you need. Every system decays. An hour every 6 months will keep your system in tip top condition.