Go Back   Team-BHP > Around the Corner > Shifting gears


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 18th January 2016, 17:40   #1
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 46,501
Thanked: 80,116 Times
Smile Inbox Zero & Email management tips

What's your strategy for inbox zero?

Quote:
Inbox Zero is a rigorous approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty -- or almost empty -- at all times.
Source

I typically hit Inbox Zero once a day minimum. What's your approach to email management? Sharing some tips from my end.

• The Archive button - Out of sight, out of mind. Once I'm done with an email, I hit the archive button. This also helps to retain in the inbox only those emails that need my attention. No unwanted clutter.

• Morning & evening approach. I usually finish all my emails first thing in the morning, and last thing before I wrap up for the day. I'll check the inbox once or twice a day for something urgent needing my attention, but that's it.

• If I don't need to reply, I don't. Archive. Saves me & the recipient time.

• Email instead of Facebook. I'm one of the few who finds Facebook boring. If I feel like I need a break from something I'm in the middle of, I'll quickly reply to some emails and then get back to whatever I was doing. More interesting to me than FB, and productive too.

It amazes me how cluttered the inboxes of some people are. Glanced at a sibling's inbox yesterday and it showed over 1,000 unread emails .

Here's my inbox from earlier this evening
Inbox Zero & Email management tips-inbox-zero.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 18th January 2016 at 17:43.
GTO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 18:41   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
Chethan B G's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,405
Thanked: 673 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

Select all + Mark as read : does the trick for me. Just kidding!

I check my mails on multiple devices. I have selected5 line view on my mobile. Therefore, I don't have to open most of the mails. I usually open only long mails or the ones I need to reply.

My mail box is usually cluttered. I am okay with it.
Chethan B G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 18:49   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,816
Thanked: 3,022 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

I just can't live with unread emails. Thankfully Exchange lets one create really detailed rules to move stuff to relevant folders so my inbox is usually under control. I let Exchange do my sorting for me, instead of doing it manually.

A few basic email habits that work for me:

1. Never respond to emails you're only CCed on: One rule I've adopted over the years is NEVER to reply to an email that isn't addressed to me directly (check if I'm in 'To'). There are plenty of instances where we're tempted to respond to an email we're only CCed on (so technically aren't required to respond), and I've religiously trained myself away from that instinct. To someone who gets a load of emails per day, this can save a good chunk of time.

2. Archive and clean up: I archive everything I don't need to use actively, and clean up every 6 months. Once a year, I delete everything I'll never need. This basically means I'll keep emails with important paperwork, other critical details and anything else I may need as evidence for a future thread (create a PST Archive and store offline). Everything else just goes to junk (esp. conversations that aren't likely to ever be reopened). My mailbox never goes beyond 10 GB (I get loads of heavy attachments), I have colleagues with mailbox 5-10 times that size.

3. Email forwarding: I'm very particular about not becoming an email addict, esp. during my off hours/days. I use email forwarding to ensure someone available in my team responds to any CRITICAL stuff while I'm unavailable, and have standing instructions to be called only if the first/second line can't resolve something effectively. This both helps me delegate effectively instead of trying to do everything myself, and my team getting a sense of responsibility. I also get to enjoy my time off without worrying if work's getting done.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 18th January 2016 at 18:56.
Chetan_Rao is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 19:02   #4
Team-BHP Support
 
Jaggu's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 17,487
Thanked: 6,764 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

Hmm interesting topic, i have multiple official id's and personal id's. Usually take about 30 mts to clear the back log in the morning, i respond when i am at the machine or mobile device as needed during work hours. After office hours only critical emails are responded and that too if i check or is brought to my notice, rest all will have to wait till next official working hour. I am little OCD'ed also, i clear all my emails including junk and delete the deleted folders by the time i am done with mails.

Most people keep mails unread to go back to it, which practically never happens and is one of the worst email habit one can have, especially if your email volumes are high. Finish replying those simple ones on time... and important ones that need follow up, ensure you add reminder flags.

In a business you cannot have the liberty of having 0 mail inbox these days, emails are used for anything to everything, and are referenced, audited and tracked. A good app like Outlook or Mail (mac) and setting up rule's is the only workable solution i have found till now to manage this.

At work i have rule's configured for certain email domains, common/group email id's and for some important person's, so that they are automatically brought to my notice. Rest are responded on second priority but within EOD or next day morning.
Jaggu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 19:04   #5
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Rajeevraj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 3,168
Thanked: 7,534 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

I typically never reach Inbox Zero, but cannot stand the sight of unread emails.

In my office email, I do a clean up once a week. Delete unwanted ones, archive to personal folders, retain the few where I have some action pending. So typically reduce to 20-30 emails in Inbox.

In my personal gmail account, I don't delete/archive, but never have unread emails. All junk that comes in is deleted and other mails are read/marked read.

Sunday mornings are challenging, that's when the scores of emails(~100 in my case) from Team Bhp comes in-Weekly subscription emails . Many of it I have been too lazy to go unsubscribe and the rest of it, I would have already read since I am regular on the forum. So first activity on a Sunday morning is to clean that up.

I also have another personal account. I neglected it for some time and it became unmanageable. I have a simple solution for that- I don't look at it any more.
Rajeevraj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 19:53   #6
BHPian
 
iamahunter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Hopping around
Posts: 172
Thanked: 387 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

A very good and important topic.

Now a days, the inbox gets full with all the advertising and marketing mails rather than useful ones.

I have segregated my mail box as such..
Name:  Gmail.jpg
Views: 5388
Size:  25.3 KB

Labels such as Bills, Finances and Work are futher divided.

eg: Finance can be divided into MF Investments, Bank Statements, Credit card statements and so on.
Bills have Electricity, Mobile, Flipkart reciepts, etc..

Makes like much better and easier.

Yes I have a folder which says Useless(mainly for select all, DELETE)
and still I have some 400+ mails in my inbox.
iamahunter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2016, 12:28   #7
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 46,501
Thanked: 80,116 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
My mailbox never goes beyond 10 GB (I get loads of heavy attachments), I have colleagues with mailbox 5-10 times that size.
Why bother with Outlook & local PST files? I used to do that earlier and it was a headache to manage backups etc. Just move to the cloud. I've moved my work emails to gmail; Microsoft has outlook for you .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
I am little OCD'ed also, i clear all my emails including junk and delete the deleted folders by the time i am done with mails.
Likewise! I get to the junk folder before my inbox (just in case there are important emails there).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
I also have another personal account. I neglected it for some time and it became unmanageable. I have a simple solution for that- I don't look at it any more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by iamahunter View Post
Now a days, the inbox gets full with all the advertising and marketing mails rather than useful ones.
Your best defence against spam is to either 'block' the sender or set a filter to delete that sender's emails. I meticulously block all spam senders.
GTO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2016, 13:04   #8
BHPian
 
pratyush6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: RNC - BLR
Posts: 470
Thanked: 497 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

Reading an email first thing in the morning is a bad, bad habit. It just runs you down. I avoid it like a plague.

But I absolutely hate cluttered email. Oh Google, I read my emails, that are important, and then simply , Select All + Delete Unread. I am amazed at how people are comfortable with thousands of unread emails. Probably I have OCD for this
pratyush6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2016, 14:56   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,816
Thanked: 3,022 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Why bother with Outlook & local PST files? I used to do that earlier and it was a headache to manage backups etc. Just move to the cloud. I've moved my work emails to gmail; Microsoft has outlook for you .
Office does not allow using public cloud solutions (I can't even sync my OneNote account across devices anymore), but we do have our own in-house private cloud, accessible outside over VPN.

Local PSTs are from years ago, I don't think my current corp setup even allows that anymore. Outlook is great until it ain't, like most Microsoft products. They just act cranky and go boom someday, unannounced, usually when one needs them most.
Chetan_Rao is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2016, 15:26   #10
BHPian
 
Jaguar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 555
Thanked: 141 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

I don't delete or archive email but don't keep anything unread as well. I too use Exchange for email sorting and many system generated work mails go directly to their respective folders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
1. Never respond to emails you're only CCed on:
Hardly works since many people don't know whom to keep in To and whom to CC. They just forward or reply-all without changing the To/CC list.
Jaguar is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2016, 15:36   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 466
Thanked: 413 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
What's your strategy for inbox zero?
Multiple email accounts for different target requirements. With the advent of mobile internet, managing them within the same smartphone is easy peasy.

E.g.:

1 account for all subscriptions. Have noticed how many a times, registering in a portal results in a deluge of emails (cleartrip, expedia etc as examples).

1 account for purely private transactions. This email ID is shared with only select audience. Used for bank accounts etc. This is diligently checked and cleaned every few hours on the mobile. Extremely strong password for this email.

1 for social networking (not limited to FB). Had been part of a google group for owners of a apartment complex. I got 3000 emails in the inbox within a month!! Needless to say, this is scanned only once in a while, when I'm really in need of a change.

1 account for shady subscriptions (shady as in "register you email for a freebie" etc, where I don't trust the source)

The advantage with the above is that I can segregate important emails right at the source. Has worked good for me so far.

Of course, all the above relates to personal email.
vinjosep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2016, 16:17   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,816
Thanked: 3,022 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
Hardly works since many people don't know whom to keep in To and whom to CC. They just forward or reply-all without changing the To/CC list.
Causes pain but is a necessary evil, esp. for people handling heavy email traffic. Why should I be forced to read through (potentially) hundreds of emails I'm not required to address, just because the sender can't get his/her target audience sorted?

It won't/didn't work perfectly from day one, but everyone I work with now knows they won't get a response from me unless I'm in the 'To' field. I also hold up my end of the bargain, by always responding to anything addressed to me within a reasonable/agreed upon time-frame.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 19th January 2016 at 16:19.
Chetan_Rao is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2016, 17:19   #13
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 144
Thanked: 102 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

What I have been doing for the past 15 years:

1. Create a PST for Outlook.
2. I do not keep any mail alert active. I just check the box periodically or unless someone manually tells me a mail has come my way for a response. This avoids a disturbance and break in the thought process.
3. Upon reading I move the mail to the PST based on project or name or organization (HR / ADMIN / Payroll).
4. I only keep 5-6 mails in the inbox (read) and same with the sent section.
5. I auto-rule people after I get used to their messages. Like an HR representative, or an ADMIN person.
6. Mails which I have replied to, I delete them from the INBOX.
7. Mails on which I receive a reply to I remove them from the SENT and the prior one from the INBOX. No point keeping multiple copies of the mail, when the chain has it all.
8. I keep mail threading OFF, since I do not want the mail client to sort for me.

My company does not allow Outlook to be mapped to Gmail or an external cloud service.
asingh1977 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2016, 17:55   #14
Distinguished - BHPian
 
phamilyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 5,581
Thanked: 3,241 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

I do what GTO does. And I have a gmail app script which marks all the pesky marketing / forum groups auto-read after 3 days. That keeps the unread gmail alert on my app from showing thousands of unread emails in the app notification count! (yes I have an OCD for that as well!!)
phamilyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th January 2016, 10:47   #15
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 46,501
Thanked: 80,116 Times
Default Re: Inbox Zero & Email management tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by pratyush6 View Post
Reading an email first thing in the morning is a bad, bad habit. It just runs you down. I avoid it like a plague.
Why do you say that? I start early and usually complete my emails before anyone else even arrives at work. Takes me about 30 minutes in the morning (on an average).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
Outlook is great until it ain't, like most Microsoft products. They just act cranky and go boom someday, unannounced, usually when one needs them most.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinjosep View Post
Have noticed how many a times, registering in a portal results in a deluge of emails (cleartrip, expedia etc as examples).

Had been part of a google group for owners of a apartment complex. I got 3000 emails in the inbox within a month!!
Anyone who spams my inbox gets a filter to take them to the trash can. This greatly helps keep my inbox filled with only important emails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
but everyone I work with now knows they won't get a response from me unless I'm in the 'To' field.
Nice strategy. But still, you have to read them no? There could be an important point you want to add to the discussion between two others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asingh1977 View Post
I do not keep any mail alert active.
Likewise! No notifications or alerts for email. If something is critical, they'll call anyway.

Quote:
Mails which I have replied to, I delete them from the INBOX.
I never delete. Instead, I use gmail's 'archive' function which takes them out of my view, but still keeps them stored (in case I need to refer to them at a later date). Storage is cheap + infinite anyways. Why delete?
GTO is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tips to drive better: But are the tips correct? Spinnerr Technical Stuff 11 22nd June 2009 13:00
Autopilot - No not on Aircraft, but in your Inbox! mjothi Gadgets, Computers & Software 9 2nd April 2009 08:38
SMS disappear from Inbox amitpunjani Shifting gears 15 4th March 2009 13:48
Store and Play all your music from your Gmail inbox normally_crazy Shifting gears 1 1st August 2007 14:50
how to increase Hotmail inbox size to 250MB speedsatya Shifting gears 40 5th March 2005 00:23


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 07:37.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks