This article by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Katherine Ellison struck a nerve this morning, as I've returned from a week-long business trip where internet access was intermittent, resulting in a glut of "check later" emails. Ellison shares a few tips worth considering if your email inbox is the bane of your existence...but is a required part of your work and personal life.
Katherine Ellison solutions to email overload? A simple combination of productivity habits:
1) Do not aim to answer every email and inform regular recipients a reasonable amount of time can be expected between receiving and replying (this obviously does not apply to your boss or emergencies). 2) Learn to use autoreply for notification when immediate response is unlikely. This alone should cut back on repeat follow-ups. 3) Use the "Block Sender" feature for non-essential emails; additionally, consider using an adaptive junk mail system (we like the one built into Postbox). 4) Work in 30 minute uninterrupted minute blocks where you avoid peeking at your inbox (best bet is to close it altogether, so you don't see any notifications). This also means putting away your smartphone, another email/notification productivity disrupter.
As Ellison wisely notes: "It's the work you complete during uninterrupted blocks that will get you promoted, not the speed with which you hit Reply."
(Infographic: Wendy Macnaughton for Dell)