I get a lot of email. When I came back from vacation this morning, I faced hundreds and hundreds of emails, from status reports to pitches and everything in between. How did I whittle this down to something manageable?
When I face a lot of email on the desktop client, there are a lot of choices – do I label it? Flag it? File it? Delete it? Archive it? Should I respond to this now? Should I put this on my calendar?
Too much choice can paralyze.
To solve this, I gave myself less choice.
It’s simple. I start by checking my mail on my phone. I never respond to email on my phone because frankly, that’s a pain in the ass. Even on the much vaunted iPhone, the keyboard is still too small to be practical for responding to stuff in volume. Instead, I use it as a first-pass filter and have four verbs to apply to each message based on what the GMail mobile interface lets me do quickly:
- Leave it alone
- Star it
- Delete it
- Archive it
Without an option to reply, without all the other clutter, and just four basic verbs, I can clean up my inbox very quickly and productively. This lets me prioritize as well, so that when I do get back to my desktop email client, I have a clear list of the stuff I want to tackle first and in what order.
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