How to manage email - Deepstash
How to manage email

How to manage email

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The psychology behind email

  • Realize that email triggers intermittent variable rewards. Our brains love pulling a lever (i.e. refreshing email) and knowing that the reward (i.e. the number of messages) will vary
  • There’s our basic human desire to return a received positive action with one of our own. 
  • Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Said differently, the more you send, the more you receive.


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When you do hit send, be precise

E-mail is not a substitute for conversations.

Avoid asking open-ended questions and save yourself from the “boomerang effect” (that’s when you invite more email into your inbox than you intended, as a result of having sent out an email in the first place). Be concise in your message and specify the TL;DR and/or requested action upfront.


307 reads

Find the right downstream systems

The blockage is not email itself, but where all these messages should ultimately go, which requires setting up the right downstream systems.

As you process each message, give yourself five (and only five) options: responding directly or sending the item into whatever system you’re using to manage one of these four buckets.


214 reads

Email and human connection

Email and human connection

Behind every email, there are human beings. We can lose sight of this by abusing recipients’ time, keeping unreasonable expectations, cutting out contentless responses (“thanks!”), giving the gift of two acronyms, NNTR and EOM (“No need to respond” and “End of message”) and remembering that if we disconnect for a bit, life will go on.


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