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9 Powerful Email Productivity Practices to Adopt Right Now

Use Automatic Responses

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.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

9 Powerful Email Productivity Practices to Adopt Right Now

9 Powerful Email Productivity Practices to Adopt Right Now

https://www.dansilvestre.com/email-productivity/

dansilvestre.com

9

Key Ideas

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. Don’t postpone and come back to it. You touch it once and move on.

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.

Receive Fewer Emails

  • Unsubscribe: from anything you don’t need, such as newsletters, groups, mailing lists, and notifications. 
  • Send fewer emails: to get less email, send less. 
  • Be succinct: Reply to every email in three sentences or less
  • Respond with statements: don’t reply “Maybe 10 or 11 am, what do you think?” to schedule a meeting time, be assertive “10 am.”
  • Get Personal: sometimes it’s easier to call or talk face-to-face. 

Understand the Different Types of Emails

All your emails fit into one of the following 6 categories:

  • Respond today: reply immediately if urgent, at the end of the workday if important
  • Respond later: schedule time in the calendar in the future to reply
  • Optional response: no need to respond, but it would be nice of you to
  • Not important and no need to reply: archive or delete
  • Read later: file into a specific folder and read in your spare time (e.g. newsletters and reports)
  • Filling: file into a specific folder (e.g. purchase receipts, copies of important documents, travel arrangements).

Practice Good Email Etiquette

  • Keep it short.
  • Make it scannable: use short paragraphs and formatting to make sure your content is read.
  • Know what you want to communicate.
  • Bold the important.
  • Keep conversations small: only include the people who need to be a part of the discussion
  • Forwarding code of conduct: never forward along a massive email chain without a few bullet points as a quick summary at the top explaining why you’re sending it and action items you need from the other person.

Schedule Email Time

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.

Use Automatic Responses

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.

Inbox Zero in 10 Minutes

  1. Create a folder in your email inbox named “sort”.
  2. Pick a topic that describes several of your unread messages.
  3. Move all messages related to that topic into the sort folder.
  4. Go into the folder and process the messages until the folder is empty.
  5. Return to your inbox and loop back to Step 2 with another topic. Repeat until the inbox is empty.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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 ...
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 out of your email and into a task manager.
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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Zen to Done (ZTD)

It's a productivity system that teaches how to take a simple approach to improving your productivity, by encouraging you to focus on forming one productivity-boosting habit at a time. 

The Minimalist Habits of Zen to Done
  • Collect: Get ideas and to-dos out of your brain and onto a list.
  • Process: Review your list daily and decide how to act on each item.
  • Plan: Pick a few high priority items to accomplish each week and every day.
  • Do: Schedule time to accomplish your selected to-dos without interruptions.
The Collect Habit

To clear your mind and improve focus, get your ideas and to-dos out of your mind and onto a list. 

Documenting to-dos in the moment lessens the likelihood that you'll forget to do something and gives you a master list of to-dos to reference when you're trying to decide where to direct your time.

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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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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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Organize your inbox

Even though email messaging has provided us with better communication, we have a hard time managing every message that enters our inbox.

Finding better ways to organize your inbox will benefi...

Marking Emails Unread

Trying to locate an email you want to respond to can be very time-consuming.

Mark the email you want to respond to later as "unread." It is easier to find between all your other messages.

Stick to a Routine

Getting out of the habit of checking email frequently can be tough. 

Check and respond to emails twice a day at a specific time. The rest of the day you can be dedicated to your work and not lose focus because of incoming messages.

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Effectiveness Vs Efficiency
  • Effectiveness is goal orientation. It's picking something to do. This is doing the right things—picking a goal and doing that goal.
  • Efficiency is doing things in an economica...
Scott Hanselman
Scott Hanselman

"Effectiveness is doing the right things, but efficiency is doing things right. That means effectiveness is picking a direction and efficiency is running really fast in that direction."

Scott Hanselman
Scott Hanselman

"Hope is not a plan. Hope is nothing but waiting and letting life happen to you."

6 more ideas

4 Methods For Email Management On A Phone
  1. When you are walking or driving, use apps like Talkler to read your email to you and be able to reply with voice messages or delete emails.
  2. Trying to read email whil...
Ignore your inbox when you wake up

Responding to emails as soon as you receive a notification gives others the impression that you’re at their beck and call. It also prevents you from reflecting on your own priorities for...

Empty your inbox daily
  • Do. If the email is actionable and takes under two minutes, then do the task ASAP.
  • Delegate. Forward the right tasks to the right people.
  • Defer. Reply to the message at a better time.
  • Delete emails that are not important or that you can delegate. 
  • File. Add messages that contain information you will need to your archives.
Stop CC’ing everyone

To avoid filling the email box of staff members, only CC the relevant parties. Ask your team to respond to you individually instead of using the reply-to-all button.

5 more ideas