Email Me Productivity

EMail–How I make it work for me !

I have been reading a few articles recently on e-mail etiquette and thought that it was about time I described how I use e-mail.

Inbox Zero

You can read the concept behind this here.

My inbox is normally empty. If you have sent me an e-mail and then pop over for a chat to chase me up and don’t see the mail in my inbox, don’t panic, if it’s not in my inbox it means that it has been filed, if required it will be on my To-Do list ( or will have an Outlook reminder tagged on it.

Yes I do have two separate systems, this is due to client confidentiality issues. I use a single system where possible.

Conversely, if you see my inbox is full, don’t panic, it just means that I’m busy working and have decided to not process my inbox at the moment, I’ll get to it when I have some more bandwidth.


As alluded to above, I don’t slavishly watch my inbox, I deliberately ignore it at times. If I’m really busy I’ll even close Outlook/GMail/Pidgin/Blackberry to ensure that I’m not disturbed. If something is urgent and I haven’t responded, IM me, or call me or come and see me. (I may tell you that I can’t respond at the moment, but at least you will know I’m alive!)

I have some colleagues that use out of office responses when they are “busyâ€?. I don’t like this as it just adds to the “noiseâ€?. I may however book a meeting with myself to block out my calendar to prevent meeting requests when I’m working to a deadline.


To make e-mail work best:

  1. Have a meaningful subject.
    I will read the “blankâ€? subject emails last!
  2. Have a “management summaryâ€? at the top of the e-mail that includes what if anything you expect me to do and when.
  3. Be concise.
    If I know it will take me 10 minutes to read the body of the e-mail, I’ll do it later unless you grab my attention quickly (see my previous bullet)
    This is one of the common comments on the e-mails that I send, they appear to be quite “terseâ€?, this is not deliberate it’s my attempt at concise.
  4. Carbon Copy (CC)
    If you are just sending me a mail for “informationâ€? CC me rather than sending it TO me, it will get automatically filed into my CC folder which will get processed after my inbox.


If you must, feel free to send me a “Thanksâ€? e-mail but it is not expected, I only send these occasionally, again to cut down on the “noiseâ€?. I can’t think of the last time I sent a “Your Welcomeâ€? e-mail, although I do really appreciate you all!

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