How I Manage My Email

Evergreen topic when it comes to work, communication, and productivity.

My setup is pretty standard, and perhaps won’t apply to many people, but I thought it could be still a good one to share.

I use an email client

As I manage eight email addresses I really can’t jump from Gmail to Gmail, and importing emails from different account into a single one is just a nightmare.

My client of choice is Airmail, both on macOS and on iOS. I know there are probably better clients out there, but I’ve been using it for years and I have yet to find the time to search and setup a new one.

Inbox Zero is my daily goal

And I normally don’t call it a day if I haven’t reached it. Bear in mind, I’m privileged enough to have to do long replies fairly rarely. So at the end of the day I make sure I have read / replied / deleted / archived all the emails that needed one of those actions. Obviously this doesn’t happen everyday.

I always “Reply all” and “Send & Archive”

I don’t always have my eyes on my email. In fact, I check it during my work day with fairly large time gaps. Every time I put my eyes on my inboxes, I reply immediately to all emails that require a 30 second / 1 sentence answer.

I’m used to “reply all” because it’s the best way to make sure everyone is kept in the loop, and “send and archive” because once the last email in the conversation is mine there’s no reason to keep it in the inbox.

I don’t treat my email like a to-do list.

If something needs to stay in the email as a reminder, the content ends up in a personal Trello board and the email gets archived.

The only reason why an email stays in the inbox is that it requires a reply that can’t be written and sent immediately.

Email notifications

At Human Made we have a bunch of internal websites we use for important discussions (see my 7 Tips to use Slack effectively, second tip). I constantly tweak and optimise what I want to see in my email from those—some sites don’t affect my work, so I don’t get notified. Some do, marginally, so I get notified only for posts. Other sites are important to me, so I get notifications for posts and comments.

Every time I get subscribed to a new GitHub repo I click the unwatch link if it doesn’t affect my work. The link is in the email notification you receive when you get subscribed, so in case you didn’t notice it please consider clicking it straight away otherwise you’ll get flooded with ticket notifications you don’t care about.

Newsletters

I use only one personal email address to aggregate the handful of non-work newsletters I receive—news briefings, which I read in the morning, hobby-related stuff, which I read in the late afternoon.

I don’t filter / label / snooze / use the importance marker.

Too much work. Email for me is simple: it’s all about reading, replying, deleting, archiving.

Curious to see if you have something you could share!

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