Every few months someone comes out with a new article on how to defeat email overload, and like the most recent diet fad, it gets some love and then goes away. Only, the volume of email continues to grow and the death of it is greatly exaggerated. I have a few friends that prefer texting and/or DMing over Twitter, but overall email dominates, big time.
Here are three simple ideas to conquer email overload:
- Only read emails in your inbox once and reply immediately if it’ll take less than two minutes to handle, otherwise promptly sort it into an appropriate folder
- Don’t — I repeat don’t — set your email program to automatically retrieve email, instead make it a manual process to get new messages (with Gmail make “Sent Mail” your homepage so that you don’t see when new messages come in)
- Allocate five time slots per day to check email, put them on your calendar as recurring events, and stick to it — don’t let email own you
Handling email is like handling anything else: make a plan, keep it simple, execute, and iterate. Conquer email with these three simple ideas and don’t look back.
What else? What are your thoughts on these three simple ideas to conquer email overload?