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The Zen Master's Guide to Email Productivity | Process Street | Checklist, Workflow and SOP Software

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The Zen Master's Guide to Email Productivity | Process Street | Checklist, Workflow and SOP Software
Yesterday I found out that the average person checks their emails 77 times per day. Seriously? Is that what people do? Back in the 90s, computers used to gleefully announce that ' you've got mail', but now clearing your inbox is cause for celebration.

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Tips For Efficient Email Management

  • Unsubscribe from or filter away the stuff you never read.
  • Disable email push notifications on your phone.
  • Check emails twice ...

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Quote the sender's email in chunks

  • Only use enough quotations to establish the context.
  • Your reply should come below it.
  • When possible, cut and reformat the quoted text.
  • Get tasks...

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Determine What The Sender Needs From You Asap

Ask yourself:

  • What’s the meaning and the value of the message?
  • What action does this message require of me?

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Suggested Email Structure

  • Greeting
  • Pleasantry
  • How you got their details, call back and reason for email
  • Body Topic: Situation, Benefit, Call to Action
  • Clos...

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Habits For Efficient Email Processing

  • Do – If it’s actionable, execute the task and archive.
  • Delegate – Forward it on.
  • Defer – Decide to do it later (snooze it until a concrete time).

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Tips To Reduce Frequent Email Checks

  • Check it at 11am and 4pm to make sure it isn’t the first thing you do (and get sucked into) and also so you have a clear inbox by the end of your day.
  • If your to-do list is alre...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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

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.

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.

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Adopt GTD Methodology in Email

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. D...

Create an Email Productivity System

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).

Power Up Your Email with Plugins

Some examples:

  • Undo Send: for when you accidentally press the send button.
  • Canned Responses: create a template that you can reuse with canned responses.
  • Send and Archive: Automatically archive an email after replying to it using the send and archive button.

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Checking Email

Check email only at set points during the day. 
  • you may decide that you'll only check your email before lunch, and at the end of the day.
  • you can also reserve time to re...

Checking your email regularly...

... during the day can be an effective way to keep your inbox at manageable levels.

However, the constant interruption and distraction that comes from it can dramatically lower your productivity, and disrupt your ability to enter a state of flow when working on high value projects.

Reading Email

  • Try using the "Two-Minute Rule" when you read your mail: if the email will take less than two minutes to read and reply to, then take care of it right now, even if it's not a high priority.
  • For emails that will take longer than two minutes to read or respond to, schedule time on your calendar, or add this as an action on your To-Do List , to do later. 

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