Master Your Inbox
Tools & Tips for Email Management by Productive Flourishing
Let’s face it: Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Case in point:
- 10 = IQ points lost when fielding constant emails
- 16 = minutes spent refocusing after fielding incoming email
- 36 = number of times employees check their email every hour
In other words, you likely spend much more time refocusing and being cognitively impaired than you spend doing focused, productive work. It’s hard to finish the stuff that matters when you’re in what we call the Loop. (The Loop is short for “The Infinite Loop of Technological Distractions.”)
To make matters worse, few of us were ever sat down and taught how to manage our email effectively. Either we just grew up with it or it was thrust upon us.
We talk a lot about effective email management here, not because we love to nerd out about email but because it’s now an omnipresent, always-on, and everything-in-it tool for knowledge work. Since we can’t get away from it – and it can be really useful – our goal is to help you use email better.
Better email management means more time to work on the stuff that really matters. (Tweet this.)
You’ll find a lot of resources here; the best place to start is probably with the STAR method (Scan-Trash-Archive-Respond). When you use this simple, effective method to sift through the massive heap of emails in your inbox, the result is a smaller stack of emails that actually need your attention. That will make it easier for you to add whatever tools and practices you find most conducive to your productivity.
Email Processing and Organization
- Use Batch Actions to Get Through Your Email Faster
- Objectify Email to Get a Grip on It
- Stop Checking Email. Process It Instead.
- Inbox Zero Is Overrated
Productive Email Practices
- Why Working From Your Email Inbox Doesn’t Work
- Your Wheelhouse (In or Out of Your Inbox)
- How to Be Brave and Send Email You Don't Want To
Tools for Email Management
Email Triage is a process for sorting through your inbox and determining what needs to be deleted, what needs to be archived, and finally, what needs your attention.
SaneBox is a Gmail extension that does a fantastic job of pre-sorting the emails that come in so that only the email that matters gets into your Inbox. Less important emails are automagically sent to different folders for you to handle at a different time – imagine only addressing the most important things in your Inbox instead of getting stuck in a black hole of doom. I’ve had assistants check my email, and SaneBox does better than they did. This resource saves me hours a week and I now can’t live without it!
This is another (Gmail-centric) program; it allows you to send messages later or automatically pull an email you’ve sent or archived back into your Inbox. (Yes, these are features Outlook has, but these work at the server level, meaning that you don’t need to have your computer or program open for it to work.)