Delete email that is not directly related to you – and get more done!


Are you one of those who gets overworked and overwhelmed by all incoming and non relevant email? My own method is to not open unread emails until my most important to-do’s are completed. So often I do not open new email until after lunch. New email make me unfocused and disturbs me when trying to work my way through my to-do list. So I want to keep them out of sight for a while.

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One of my colleagues said this about my method on our intranet!

When I am done I have a coffee as a personal gift to myself and just sit down for five minutes looking out into the air, trying to think of nothing. Then I start on the list of new and unread emails. First thing I do is “muting” all email I already have read. Only the new, unread emails are showing by the red color. Next thing I do is sorting them after importance without opening them. How I can know they are important without reading them? Well, I am lucky guy who gets to use IBM Notes, worlds best communication client. There is a functionality showing me small blue dots if the email is just for me, a half blue dot if the email is for me and four others (typical a project team) and an “empty” dot if the email is for me and lots of others.

Then I start working through my full blue dots and decide whether this is an email I could do something about and finish in less than two minutes. If so – I do it and go to the next new and unread mail. If I can’t solve the email immediately I flag it with a date and time for when I will have to do it. When I have finished all my new emails in this way I take a new five minute brake to honor myself before I move on to those emails with half blue dots using the exact same method.

So what do I do with the rest of the “empty” dots? Well, my mailbox is set up the way that I can read the three first lines in every mail without opening it (or I have a view of the mails content on the right side) so I can make a fast decision: delete or handle? To be honest, most of them are deleted!

This is just one of my methods of “How to do less and get more done“.