7 tips for dealing with email

A Community Contribution from Erik Hanberg

Here’s how I deal with email and keep from getting too overloaded:

  1. I have one inbox. Everything goes to the same place (accounts either forward to Gmail or I’ve actually set Gmail up to reply from those accounts).
  2. I only check email when I can reply to it easily. Unless I’m waiting for something specific, I try not to check email from my phone, because it’s a recipe for getting an email that requires a length reply that I don’t have the time to give on my phone. And that just stresses me out until I can reply appropriately.
  3. I don’t use preview windows. It’s too easy to only get half the information and miss important stuff. When I used Outlook for work, this happened way more often that

    I would have liked. I thought it was a feature, but it turns out it wasn’t helpful at all. It made me browse email more than read email.

  4. When I do check email, I start at the bottom and move my way up, going through email one at a time in the order sent.
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    It’s the only way to know I haven’t missed anything.

  5. I know my hot keys. By not using a mouse, I fly through emails much faster.
  6. If I can reply quickly, I’ll do it right then. If I need to think on it, or know it will be a long reply with lots of edits, I’ll star it (a Gmail feature), so I don’t lose track of it. Alternatively, if you have folders, just move it to an Action folder.
  7. Two or three times a year I’ll unsubscribe to newsletters I’m not using anymore. It’s amazing how easy it is to get onto newsletters without really trying.