Managing your work email

5 April, 2011 § 1 Comment

Email is the predominant form of communication in many workplaces today, including at TechSmith. It is very easy to receive about 30 pertinent emails per day, as well as another 100 or so that consist of check-in notices, bug status updates, build notifications, etc.

Finding time to respond to emails, and the priority of which emails to respond to can be a task in itself. Some of my coworkers have different approaches to organizing their emails.

I’ve seen some that are meticulous in their folder organization, and others who make sure to reply to every personal email within 24 hours.

I probably fall somewhere in between. My work email account has:

  • An inbox
  • An archive folder
  • Filtered email folders (Changesets, Build Notifications, Sales Updates, and Off-topic)

Emails that land in my inbox are first priority. A couple times a day I will take the opportunity to sort through those emails. I don’t reply to every single one, but I try to file most. As a rough guideline, I try keep less than a screens-length of messages in my inbox at a time.

If I have read the email and replied (if necessary), then I will move the email to my Archive folder. The Archive folder exists purely for historical purposes. Once a while I will need to scan my history to find an email that someone mentions. I try never to delete an email. With hard drive storage so cheap these days, there should be no reason to delete tiny 10kb emails.

The filtered email folders get perused less often. A couple times a week I will read the changesets (aka check-ins) that have been landed on a couple projects at work that I am interested in. Build notifications almost never get read, they’re there just in case someone breaks the build (which never happens now that we are using gated builds). Sales updates and off-topic emails get read when some spare time comes along.

I find that this type of email management is simple and easy to control, and I recommend you try it out.

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§ One Response to Managing your work email

  • A.J. says:

    Good post Jared; it is great to get some insight to how you manage your e-mail. If interested with my work e-mail is all in the Inbox. Yes that means I have 14,329 items in my inbox. I went the better route with my personal e-mail address where I move the message after responding. I know I should follow your approach but I also don’t like to change things when it works alright.

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