Email productivity tips

Now that I’m back in the real world (that is, not blogging all day long), I am definitely feeling the need to revisit some of the recommendations for time management at 43 Folders. Fortunately Merlin posted a roundup of email and task management recommendations today, including the following (drawn from the three individual posts):

  • Shut off auto-check, or set it to something reasonable like every 20 minutes.
  • Pick off the easy mails—if you can reply to something with a 1-2 line response, do it.
  • Write less.
  • Be honest—delete or archive the mails you’ll never do anything about.
  • Process each piece of incoming email as: delete, archive, defer for later response, generate an action, or respond immediately. Then go back to the response and action items and do them in batches.
  • Outlook and Entourage allow you to categorize task items. Use categories to provide the context around task items. Merlin suggests using functional categories (“chores,” “errand,” “write,” “calls”), computer-related categories, and categories like “agenda” to prevent items from falling off the plate.