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Dealing With High Volumes of Email

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  • Dealing With High Volumes of Email

    I receive in excess of 100 emails to my work account alone on a given day. I realize that I'm not the only person to receive a high volume of email, but I am starting to realize just how much time I'm spending to stay on top of it.

    Even with the two-minute rule, it is very hard to stay on top of the email.

    How do you all cope with the email volume and what works best for going through it?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Stick to Basics & Simple Tricks

    Same boat here!

    When the e-mail beast is winning I find going back to the GTD basics really helps. Make sure you don't blend the phases. When you're processing e-mails you are not doing the longer than two minute ones and that includes reading the e-mail. Answering the, "What is It?" question of the GTD Workflow diagram can often blow away the Two Minute Rule!

    Another thing that helped me was organizing my (Outlook) folders. A lot of my processing is moving e-mails into various sub folders based on my decisions. Under In Box I have three main categories:

    Action
    Read - FYI
    Reference

    I use sub folders a lot because Windows search doesn't do it for me and I can't install things on my own. At home the Outlook Add-in allows me to deal with actionable e-mails a little easier.

    Couple other examples:

    Action
    - @ Action
    - @ Action - Read
    - @ Waiting For
    - Action Support


    Read - FYI
    (daily subscriptions)
    - Boston.com
    - WSJ.com

    But I don't use automatic rules because some WSJ.com e-mails I decide to take action on (@ Action - Read) and others I just might want to keep around if I get some extra time (Read - FYI).

    Comment


    • #3
      I have about 100 emails as well. I go from top to the bottom and move them to calendar or @Action list. If I need to save the email I put into one of the folders: 1 - Project Support, 2 - Reference and 3 - Archive (all the rest). If you don't have too much time to process daily then do not apply 2 minutes rule. The idea is to empty the inbox so you can then start doing the most important project.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Borisoff View Post
        I have about 100 emails as well. I go from top to the bottom and move them to calendar or @Action list. If I need to save the email I put into one of the folders: 1 - Project Support, 2 - Reference and 3 - Archive (all the rest). If you don't have too much time to process daily then do not apply 2 minutes rule. The idea is to empty the inbox so you can then start doing the most important project.
        Are you making any time to go through the Archive folder?

        One of things I'm noticing is that if I do move an email out of my inbox, I often don't find time to get back to it.

        Alternatively, if I do try to dig through my archive emails, 10 more will appear in inbox at the same time - giving me that "can't catch up" feeling....

        Comment


        • #5
          The key for me was deciding that, if I sit down to do email, I'm going to really empty my inbox, every time. No "just checking." If I read an email, I figure out what needs to be done, note it down if necessary, and move it out of the inbox. Right then.

          So, if I do check my email, I make sure I have time to actually process it, and I focus on doing that.

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