Email Overload

Email Overload

So I get a lot of emails. Not like Chris Brogan-style thousands of emails a day.

But I get a good 100+. Usually that require some action on my part. And they are all from really cool people across the world that have some interest in GovLoop and are doing amazing things.

And I’ve found myself lately becoming a bad emailer. Getting behind on emails. People sending me the same email twice because I haven’t responded. Which bugs me. As I’ve always been a decent emailer with pretty good response times.

So I’m looking for ideas on managing my email better.

Anyone have any great tricks? I’ve heard of people only checking email a few times a day and cranking away.

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Scott Horvath

Personally, I do the multiple monitor option. I have 3 monitors setup on my desk. One is strictly email application, the second is development tools, photo editing, etc and the third is everything else (browser, twitter client, etc). So having a separate monitor dedicated to just email allows me to always have an eye (even indirectly) on my email so I know when something comes in and I choose to ignore it or answer it. After I respond I IMMEDIATELY delete it. If I’m asking for a response then I delete it as well. When I ask for a response I expect the person to reply back (which always has continuing record of the email thread). If they don’t respond then it’s apparently not important enough to them therefore it’s not important to me. Email conversations are a relationship…you give and take.

If it’s something I have to do (a task) then I’ll flag it red. If it’s something I’m waiting for a response on then it’s green. If it’s something I’m not ready to deal with yet, but I want to respond or something that I want to always see when I check my mail then I leave it and flag it white or not flag at all.

Doing all of this keeps my inbox to no more than 15 emails at any one time. If it goes past that I started responding or completing tasks to get them out of my inbox and into an archive folder.

Andrew Krzmarzick

I just had this conversation with a mutual friend of ours…three things from my recent experience:

1. Use labels and filters with reckless abandon…I just added about 50 filters to my wife’s Gmail account the other night so that she could see the essentials only…the rest was various listservs that she didn’t need to see in real-time, but could reference as needed.

2. Move listserv content to Google Reader. Some things don’t need to be in email at all. Until recently, I was receiving blog updates from Chris Brogan and Brazen Careerist by email…no more! They’re funneled to GReader (BONUS: There’s a great reader with nice interface on my Droid that enables reading and sharing this stuff in one place while I’m waiting somewhere.

3. Unsubscribe with reckless abandon. In my Yahoo! account, which is now nearly 10 years old, I have been unsubscribing from almost everything over the last two weeks. It’s just short of the “Ari Herzog nuclear option on Twitter” where he unfollowed everyone and started over. I’d change accounts, but most of my friends find me there.

Good luck… 🙂