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Email Organization for Greater Productivity

by Jean Murray on February 8th, 2009

Getting squeezed by email?  Is it reducing your productivity in your home business? Email is, like most new inventions, wonderful and at the same time frustrating.  I talked with one home business owner recently who said she had over 1,000 email messages in her in-box.  That’s not including spam, which she dutifully marked as it came in.  And email is, as Mark Twain said, like the weather - everyone talks about it but no one does anything about it.

In my recent interview with David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, he mentioned that we should consider email like the phone, looking at it when we have time but otherwise ignoring it.

Here are three ideas I use to keep myself from sending or receiving too many emails:

1.  Don’t send a one-word message like “Thanks!”  in reply to someone.  I put my thanks in the original email then I don’t respond unless there is something to say or something further to do.

2.  Never send two emails when one will do.  For example, if I’m emailing someone to set up an interview, I never send an email saying, “Let me know when you are available.”  That sentence inevitably leads to several more emails.  I tell the other person when I am available, giving options.  Then I tell them to pick the one that works best for them.

3.  Send one-line emails with my message in the subject line and ending with (end of message.  That allows the person to see the entire message in the subject line without having to open up the email.  For example, “Thursday at 7 is ok. I’ll call you at home. .  Why say more?

What tricks do you have for dealing with email? What would be your advice for the home business owner with 1000 messages in her email in-box?  Should she delete them?  Sort by sender?  Your suggestions are welcome.

Image source: StockExpert

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POSTED IN: Email, Productivity, home business tips

2 opinions for Email Organization for Greater Productivity

  • Jeff
    Feb 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Use Rules. Most email clients have them. I get lots of tech related emails,so I have rules for all of the senders so they go a single folder. I read them at my leisure but they don’t clog up my inbox.

  • Jean Murray
    Feb 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Good point, Jeff. I use “Mailboxes” on my Mac, and I put all the “tips and tricks” emails I want to look at later in the appropriate mailbox. Saves time when I’m trying to get through the urgent/important stuff.

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