How not to be overwhelmed by incoming e-mails

E-Mail OverloadIn the days when I worked for a living, I used to receive a lot of e-mails.  Someone once asked me how I managed my e-mails.  Here are ten rules to get you started.

  1. Get up early (5 am-ish) while others are not at their keyboards and spend at least an hour reading and replying to e-mails.  That’ll teach them not to send you e-mails late at night.
  2. Don’t reply to any e-mail that does not contain a question, unless you want to.
  3. Don’t reply to any e-mail where you are just a Cc or even a Bcc, unless you want to.
  4. Don’t use ten words when five will do, unless you want to.
  5. If a reply can be written in less than two minutes, reply instantly.
  6. Minimise the use of fancy fonts, coloured backgrounds, smileys and emojis, and anything else that unnecessarily tarts up your reply.
  7. Check all replies for typographical and grammatical errors before hitting the SEND button.
  8. Flag e-mails that require more than two minutes to answer and then set aside a time later in the day to compose the reply—that is, make it a To Do item. Be religious about this.
  9. Every week, back off all your received and sent e-mails into an archive folder and thus empty your Inbox and Outbox. You’ll feel good looking at empty Inbox and Outbox folders, at least until they start to fill up again.
  10. And last, don’t send e-mails to anyone. Then you won’t get replies that require a reply!

Don’t be a slave to technology.  Make it be a slave to you.