9 Easy Steps To Email Heaven


Guy K’s tweeting last night of Michael Dolan’s post on attacking the email monster reminded me that I’d promised Chris Winfield some insight into how I irritate my colleagues with a seemingly simple method that never fails! 🙂

In my job I get a load of the bloomin’ things!

I’m less of a control freak than I used to be, but I do like to know what’s going on in the world and what’s going on in the company and with the competition.

People look to me and the adCenter Community team for all the online insight as soon as anything good (or bad) happens, so I have a plethora of alerts and newsletters set up so I’m as plugged in as I possibly can be.

Sometimes though it can all be a little overwhelming but I have a system which gets right up some folks noses when they peer over my shoulder and cry:


“How come you’ve only got 15 emails when I’ve got 1500?!”


Here’s how in 9 sure-fire bullets: 

1 – My Outlook Inbox is my work dashboard, my “To Do” list – to reply, to write, to read, to listen to, to think about…….if it ain’t in there it ain’t getting done!

2 – I never finish the day more than 30 emails in my inbox – if that means deleting a couple of newsletters after a quick scan then OK. No one ever died from not knowing something digital!

3 – Once actioned, I file most emails in folders if I need a copy for future reference. Otherwise I delete them.

4 – If someone emails asking me for or to do something, sometimes I have to email back asking for more information. If I do then their email gets deleted and I forget about it. If they need something that bad they’ll reply with clarifiaction. I’m not going to remind them they asked me for something.

5 – If there’s a back log, I’ll scroll down to the oldest email and spend 30 mins working my way back up deciding whether I need to know the information or jotting off a shorter reply than I would normally have done.

6 – I don’t filter emails into folders to read later – If they’re out of sight they’re out of mind!

7 – If I’m late replying to a time-sensitive email, I’ll manage expectations by responding quickly with when they can expect the information. That puts the pressure on me to work smarter and get to their request!

8 – If, on the rare occasion, I have to leave with a glut of mail clogging my professional arteries, I don’t stress about it as I’m probably going to do something more interesting any way!

9 – I always apply the “Circle of Influence & Concern” to everything I do – more of that in another post! 🙂



  • Kate Morris

    I thought I was the only one that did this! I regularly get gawked at for having so few emails in my inbox, but the system works. It just does.

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Jon

    I’m trying the inbox zero approach: http://www.43folders.com/izero

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • AndrewG

    I, too, have a minimalist approach, which I call the 3 “D”s :

    Deal with it,
    Delegate it, or
    Dump it.

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Why Time Management is Inextricably Linked to Your Personal Brand

    […] agendas in mind. My personal tactics are to use Microsoft Outlook is my calendar, use my inbox as a to do list of actions, emails, or things I have to read, and I have a real world notebook and pen in which I not only write notes from meetings, but also […]

    Posted 10 years ago

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