Email triage

Many thanks to Craig Roth for introducing me to the concept of ‘extreme email triage’.  With 411 emails in his inbox, he set aside some uninterrupted time, checked he wasn’t expected in any meetings and ‘triaged’ his way out of email overload.  His techniques included:

  • Working in stealth mode (he didn’t turn off his out of office until he was ready to do so)
  • Scanning for high priority messages (firefighting, red type, subject headings in capitals etc)
  • De-spamming (this removed almost 25% of his inbox in one swoop)

His article reminds me of the challenging (for us) decision I reached with several colleagues.  We decided to stop burdening each other with our polite acknowledgements and good mannered correspondence and banned thanking each other via email.  It made a real difference!

Email inbox now dealt with, I wonder if anyone has any hints on how to deal with the pressure I feel when my Google Reader tells me there are 1000+ items waiting to be read?

About Val Skelton

I am the editor of Information Today, Europe. On the main site, we cover news and publish feature articles by information, research and knoweldge practitioners and thought leaders. On this blog, we aim to cover other topics of interest to our readers.

One Response to Email triage

  1. Ian Wooler April 11, 2011 at 6:57 am #

    Building on your ‘stop burdening’ point – one way to start managing your email inbox is to review your outbox. A health check of your outbox might lead you to:
    - remove yourself from distribution lists;
    - unsubscribe to things that seemed interesting at the time but are no longer useful;
    - reflect on how you send emails and your use of CCs and Bccs;
    - ask yourself, with the benefit of hindsight, was email the best communication channel to use in this instance;
    - stop sending emails to people you can see.