Is it really a fallacy to end each day with ZERO emails? Like Ezra Bulter says in this essay, “No one cares if you have any emails in your inbox. They only care if you’ve seen – and replied to – the email from them. Can’t we at least agree on that?” So instead of aiming for ZERO, I will use this advice to make a plan to manage my emails better.
Step 1 – URGENT/IMPORTANCE MATRIX
Using the time management tool ‘Urgent/importance matrix’, I made my own matrix and filled in how I see my messages:
Important/urgent = deal with before I go home
Important/not urgent = deal with asap but can be left
Urgent/Not important = see step 2 below
Not urgent/not important = archive for a rainy day when I have a million hours to read online
2. Does this email need to be sent?
We are all guilty of this one! I love the flow chart. I think many emails can be discussed in person rather electronically. The effect of NOT sending emails means less in your inbox!
3. Set a time for email
I cannot check my email between 7:25 – 12:10 while the children are in the class. Therefore, when I do check my email, I devote 20 minutes to get through what has accumulated in the morning. But then I spend the afternoon pingponging between work and email. Shawn Carolan on Gigaom suggests blocking a set of time to attend to the emails. So my plan to focus on my urgent/important for a set time afternoon, then attend to the rest once I have cleared these time-heavy emails out of the way.
4. PAUSE your email
What other tips do people use to be more efficient with their emails?