Tips for managing email

By Nic Price on 10 November 2005 — 1 min read

Here’s something that I wrote back in February and have been meaning to put in a post on here for ages…

There are quite a few good guides to managing email.

The latest one I’ve read is this one by Mark Hurst who runs a consultancy in New York.

You don’t have to read all 38 pages to get the point, but you do need to read the first few sections which takes about 15-20 minutes at a push.

I’ve managed to keep an empty inbox for a fortnight now and felt inspired to totally clear my desk too.

So I sent the link round to immediate colleagues, two of whom have now also totally cleared their inboxes (and desks!), so there must be something in it.

You may already have a method that works for you, but if you don’t then this might do it.

The basic principle is don’t use your inbox as a storage device

This is followed by a simple formula based upon 5 types of email:

  1. Spam – delete it straight away
  2. Personal – deal with it straight away, delete it (or file it if you really have to, but not in your inbox)
  3. Newsletters – quick read then delete. You’ll get another one soon
  4. For your information – read it and file it if you have to otherwise delete it
  5. For your action – read it, if you can do it now do it, if you can’t mark it for action and set time aside to do it. File it under actions, then delete or file when complete

Once your left with 4s and 5s it’s fairly quick to work out which one an email is

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