Take control of your email

This week, I realized that I’ve got a problem with email. I was wondering why I struggled so much with finishing my important tasks and found that I've been living in my inbox. I’ve been constantly looking out for new messages from colleagues and customers. While this made for great response times, it prohibited me from concentrating on what I needed to work on. So many times, I have read the advice to not get addicted to my inbox and still, I did.

That’s why I’ve decided to limit my checking for new email to a few times per day. I’ll still be notified of anything important or urgent by AwayFind and by the support request escalation of our Help Center. I’ve also reinstalled the Concentrate app on my computer to minimize distractions while I’m working on a certain task — for example writing this blog post.

Since email is obviously a both useful and disruptive medium, I’d like to point you to a great article by Kelly Forrister, a Senior Coach with the David Allen Company. In Email best practices for your team, Kelly gives the following tips:

  1. Match the message to the best medium.
  2. Be discerning about your use of “To:” vs. “Cc:”.
  3. Use subject lines that clearly describe the topic; add short codes for minimum reading effort.
  4. Resist the urge to simply click “reply to all”.
  5. Set a standard for response time and use the leeway it gives you.

Since I seem to have blind spots regarding the influence of email on my productivity, I’ll take a good look at which of Kelly’s tips might further improve my work style. Read them on the GTD blog in full length!