Embroiled in email
~ 17 October 2007 ~
I spend at least an hour every day reading, replying to, deleting, purging, sorting, rejoicing, and cursing email. I imagine you do, too.
Seems everyone else does, as well. Intel recently declared Fridays “Zero E-mail Fridays”:
E-mail isn’t forbidden, but everyone is encouraged to phone or meet face-to-face. The goal is more direct, free-flowing communication and better exchange of ideas, Intel principal engineer Nathan Zeldes says in a company blog post.
The fastest method I’ve found for controlling the e-mail impulse is to set up an autoresponder that indicates you will be checking e-mail twice per day or less…. My personal e-mail autoresponder limits me to once per day and indicates ‘I check e-mail once per day, often in the evening. If you need a response before tomorrow, please call me on my cell.’ My business e-mail autoresponder, on the other hand, gives me the option to check email once every 7-10 days.
Mike Davidson recently tried managing email overload by replying to every email using five sentences or less:
Every e-mail I send to anyone, regardless of subject or recipient, will be five sentences or less. Like a cinquain. Ideally, it would be a 160 character count like an SMS message, but since that would require an actual e-mail plug-in (viz. “work”), we’ll go with the much-easier-to-count concept of sentences instead.
What I do is have a top level folder for my each of my main alternate addresses. Within these folders I’ve got sub folders broken down various ways, depending on the needs of the address…. I then have two top level folders for things that may need action. A “Waiting-Followup” folder for things I’m waiting on someone else for or things that aren’t urgent, and a “Needs Response or Action” folder for things I need to respond to.
All these approaches sound fine and dandy, but I’ve yet to see any long-term success stories. Is there no end to the email epidemic?
Please chime in. I’m interested in knowing how you manage the ebb and flow of email? Do you have a regimen for checking and replying to email? Do you sort or use a GTD approach? Do you reply to every email or only selectively and delete the rest?
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