Don't feel obligated to respond to everything - Deepstash

Don't feel obligated to respond to everything

Emails from unknown people are like strangers who show up at your office without an appointment. If you pay attention to them, you have to break your commitment to others.

Consider keeping your email notifications off. You will not forget about your inbox.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THEARTICLE

Actions you might take while processing:

  • Unsubscribe or block.
  • Reply where longer or more substantive replies are needed.
  • Forward/delegate things that need more substantive thought and context.
  • Task. Theses emails require action that can't get done in two or three minutes while processing.

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  • Use an email service with a great search tool so you can find archived messages with ease.
  • Delete all those folders. If you use an email service with a great search function, you don't need many folders. Instead, create one big archive and use the search function.
  • Get a to-do app. Many people use email as a to-do list, but then have to re-read the emails and reinterpret what they need to do.

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Once you've got the flow of email reduced to messages that matter, it's time to clear the non-urgent out of your inbox.

  • Reply if a very quick reply is possible, like Thanks or Great or On it.
  • Reply with a macro if one of your pre-written replies works.
  • Forward/Delegate emails that others can handle.
  • Process later. The "to process" is the second folder.
  • Archive or delete if no further action is needed.

Once this is done, only the deeply urgent things are left.

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Creating a controllable inbox

Many people decry how awful email is. They feel that messages keep on appearing in their inbox as if they have no control over them.
The first step to a controllable inbox is to slow down the messages.

  • Unsubscribe to all the blogs and newsletters you subscribed to or set up a separate email account for it.
  • Be selective on marketing.
  • Kill all non-essential email notifications.
  • Be a ruthless unsubscriber.

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Sales pitches are personal emails without unsubscribe links. But if you don't respond, you can often get more email from them.

Set up text replacements. For example:

noint = Not interested but thanks; please remove.

nove - I'm sorry; I have a bunch of initiatives and don't have time for a call right now. Maybe in a few months.

nocant = I'm sorry; I've already made commitments I'd have to break if I tried to make a call or meeting work right now.

These won't work everywhere but are a good starting point that can be edited.

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RELATED 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.

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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 benefit your productivity.

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  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 while doing other things often leads to interruptions and rereads. Avoid that by quickly moving messages that require responses to a “tasks folder” and forwarding or deleting the rest. If you are out of time to do this, only try again when you do.
  3. Set up filters to automatically sort emails whenever possible.
  4. A signature that informs you’re answering from a phone makes typos and late answers more acceptable.

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