I get a lot of emails on a daily basis – on average around 100 per day. Nowhere near as many as some of the people I work with at Microsoft, but a fair few. Even though we use Lync / Skype for Business heavily at Paradyne and are also using Yammer for more and more conversations both internally and externally – there is still a lot of email going through my mailbox.
This inspiration for this post came from Jeremy Thake’s post about the how he handles email.
While I actually have 4 mailboxes configured within Outlook (personal, Paradyne, Xstran, Microsoft) and my phone for this blog post I’m going to focus on Paradyne as that is my most active. I generally have Outlook open on a dedicated screen when I’m at my workstation however there are many times during the day when I minimise it or am offline.
I have tried the Clutter feature of Exchange Online when it was released but unfortunately it did very little for me so I went back to my Outlook rules.
In Jeremy’s post (and others linked from it) they have a number of rules set up to filter out *everything* and at the end of the day everybody works different. My setup is simple yet prioritised:
- Email from anyone with an @paradyne.com.au email address goes into my Inbox
- Any newsletter, mailing list, email from Yammer, or anything generic goes into the “aGENERIC” folder
- Anything from a person that isn’t a Paradyne colleague goes into the “aaNew” folder
Effectively this means that my team at Paradyne get priority, any other human being goes after, and the newsletters/etc. are bottom of the list. One of the major benefits of this I’ve found (and part of the reason I did it in the first place) is that the Paradyne mailbox tile on my phone only shows the count of emails in my Inbox – not the total amount of emails that have come through since the last time I checked.
Now while I always strive to achieve Inbox Zero I am somewhat accepting of the fact that it’s not always possible (at time of writing I have 7 in my Inbox (mainly from me), 15 in aaNew, and 5 in aGENERIC).
What I do ensure is that I read every single email that comes in. If I can address it I do it on the spot. If I can’t it remains in my inbox as read until it is actioned. A folder in bold makes me anxious as it means there’s something for me that I haven’t seen yet.
So there you have it. Nothing fancy or amazing. No machine learning. Just a bit of simple filing to cut down on the noise of what I need to respond to.