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

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 per day to limit the time it takes to check and switch tasks while batch-processing your emails.
  • Structure your emails in blocks to allow for automation of parts of it.
  • Use canned responses for repeated answers.
  • Archive nonurgent messages to reduce your inbox.
  • Quote the sender’s email in chunks, replying to each section to avoid confusion.
  • Separate your to-do list from your inbox.
  • Use a pattern like ‘verb the noun with the object’ in your subject lines to make it more efficient for others to read it.
  • Clear your emails by the end of the day so things won’t accumulate for the next one.

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

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

https://www.process.st/email-productivity/

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Key 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 per day to limit the time it takes to check and switch tasks while batch-processing your emails.
  • Structure your emails in blocks to allow for automation of parts of it.
  • Use canned responses for repeated answers.
  • Archive nonurgent messages to reduce your inbox.
  • Quote the sender’s email in chunks, replying to each section to avoid confusion.
  • Separate your to-do list from your inbox.
  • Use a pattern like ‘verb the noun with the object’ in your subject lines to make it more efficient for others to read it.
  • Clear your emails by the end of the day so things won’t accumulate for the next one.

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?

Suggested Email Structure

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

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).
  • Delete – If possible, do it to reduce your inbox.
  • File – If necessary, tag it and set a reminder for later to process items in that tag.

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 already overflowing, add email checking times to your calendar.
  • Close your email software.
  • Don’t use an email browser client, because it will be too tempting.
  • Use a desktop app with no easily accessible shortcut.
  • Hide your email app on the last page of a folder full of apps you never go to.

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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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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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