How do I: Manage Email

Email is still a necessary evil (time-sucking monster) for most of us in the working world.

As mentioned earlier, I have only one and answer one phone. On my iPhone, I also combine all my unread emails from multiple email accounts (4–12 email accounts depending on the number of clients and projects I have going on) into one unread email folder. This is done with the understanding that we read mostly unread emails unless we need to reference something from past emails sometimes.

When you have multiple email accounts (work/personal/etc), having one unread email folder from all the accounts combined makes it easier to:

  1. Scan all emails for importance based on sender and subject line
  2. Edit out (delete without reading) all emails not worth reading (we all get them, but why waste your time)
  3. Read the emails worth your time

This process also helps expose unread emails within a threaded email with multiple replies.

This way it is easier to maintain inbox zero every day (which I do). I do not ‘nuke’ all emails if I have too many, but I have heard people do this and hope that people who really want to reach you about something will simply re-attempt later.

You do not have to check email hourly nor every time you get another email. Checking email twice a day (morning and late afternoon) makes it much more manageable so there will some volume to start this process rather than repeating throughout the day. Replying to valid emails within 24 hours is only fair to those who you should reply back to. The emails will still be there when you get to them.

Rarely have I seen emails that are set to expire (it is an option within advanced email tools) when the information has a very valid expiration date with very formal deadlines for any action items. I would see this email well before it expires.

Some advanced email tools allow you to know if someone opened your email, but I am not in sales so I don’t care. If my email was not read, their loss, not mine. Yes, I do keep all my sent emails.

When you consider when people are more likely read and reply to emails (weekdays), so I schedule emails and replies. Seconds do not matter in the world of email.

This is how I manage my email. How do you manage your email (monsters)?


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