Playing catch up on the day’s images again, I thought I’d share this simple story from the Huffington Post, about the volume of email we each receive at work, and the fact that this is only getting worse.
Some years back I know that I used to get 200-300 emails a day, and I became quite adept at dealing with them, though they took a large part of the day. I ended up applying a rule someone once told me about the old fashioned paper in trays that used to be prevalent in the offices I worked in. He said to remove anything that was more than 4 weeks old and put it in the bin: if it was important, someone would have chased it by now and you’d have a newer message from them.
I knew of one guy who used to set his Out of Office (OoO) messages to say that when he returned from leave all mails would be deleted unread, and that people should re-send them if important when he got back. I’m not a fan of that approach and I’m not sure it would work in this day and age: he did this pre-smartphones and tablets.
There’s a temptation with email to apply a more radical approach, and delete anything over a week old, but that probably won’t work either. You have to allow for people being on leave etc, but I guess that also means you have to rely on them setting their OoO message too – you wouldn’t believe the number of people that don’t.
As for how I do it now? I try to set aside time every day, but rarely do I get to the bottom of the pile, so I prioritise what arrives during the day and deal with the most urgent / important first. All the messages I’m CCd on I file away, but don’t generally do anything with as they’re for info only.