think of every email you get as either something you need to take action on, track, or refer to later.
Every time you open a conversation, decide right away what to do with it. Don’t postpone and come back to it. You touch it once and move on.
There’s no “definitive” system. The best framework is the one that works for you. Ideally, it should model your work style, supporting the way you work. Bonus points if it’s low-maintenance, fast to set up, and adaptable as your work changes.
Some people like to use folders with specific actions (do, delegate, reply), while others prefer the deadline-driven approach (today, tomorrow, next week).
All your emails fit into one of the following 6 categories:
Treat checking emails as you would any other tasks: a to-do. Schedule specific times in your calendar to process email. And reduce the times you check email to 2 per day: one in the late morning and another in the late evening.
Train other people to respect your productivity, work, and time by using an automatic response. Long-term sustainable email productivity is about selective ignorance.
Let people know you’re checking emails less often in order to be more productive.
Actions you might take while processing:
These are internal notifications, emails from the corporate office or from team members who want to keep us "in the loop."
If you see your name in the "cc" field instead of the "To" field, chances are it's an FYI email. Consider filing it in a "To Read" folder, and tackle it when you have time.