17,000+ emails in a year. That’s not a guess, that’s how many emails I had in my inbox for one calendar year. That doesn’t include a few hundred deleted items. It also doesn’t include emails to my gmail account… 17,000+ is a total for just my work email. Excluding holidays and weekends, that’s about 85 emails per work day. You've Got M@IL

I’m not sure if I should be happy that emails don’t stop for holidays and that my daily dose is often less than 85? But, the reality is that some days can hit well over 100 in my inbox, and other days when I only have about 50 can end up taking more of my time than the days when they just keep coming. Email is broken.

Let me say that again: EMAIL IS BROKEN!

I’ve already lamented about the problem with ‘Reply All’ and the fact that there should be at least 2 warnings that pop up before permission is granted to hit this time-wasting button.

And in the same post on ‘Finding Balance’, in which I first shared this ‘Reply All’ image, I said,

“Email is not a productivity tool. It is a poorly used form of communication that engulfs productivity time and requires a disproportionate amount of our lives.”

The reality is that I won’t spend my whole work day on email, and that I try to reduce my email time as much as possible while at work. So, that means taking it home with me. That means using the ‘send later’ tool so that people don’t see the late hour that I’m responding to them. That also means waking up early to knock down necessary responses so that I don’t start my day feeling behind. And still, this past year I seemed to struggle with overload of emails that seem to want and expect a response.

17,000+ emails in a year is just ridiculous!

A large part of my personal/professional goals that I have each year are organizational management. As I’ve wondered before, how can I make sure the operational aspects of my role don’t rob me of my opportunities to lead?

Here are more questions that I have, specifically pertaining to managing email. Please let me know if you have any strategies or insights to share!

Who has been abel to reduce the total number of emails that come to you?

Who is managing email well and what is your strategy?

Who is using other tools effectively and seeing a reduction in emails as a result?

What communication did you used to do through emails that you have changed to something different?

How do you effectively manage email To Do’s with other To Do’s?

Also published on Medium.

4 comments on “17,000 Emails

  1. My strategy:

    Read respond delete for those needed
    Delete those not needed or delete without reading all reply alls

  2. My email workload has been growing these last couple of years and I’ve been experimenting with a “zero” inbox after working through a time management lynda.com course. A couple of helpful tips about email that I gleaned:

    -reduce number of inboxes, “collecting places” down to one.
    -no need to delete, only archive.
    -use filters & labels, making most messages bypass your inbox!
    -check emails only a couple of times a day (noon and five).
    -move everything to your calendar, even important email replies that will take more than 5 min. (In a sense, my calendar has become my “to do” list.)

    Six months in, it’s not perfect but I’m feeling a bit less burdended!

    1. Thanks Shaun,
      I’ve actually started putting emails into my calendar, but haven’t fully adopted it yet other than ‘BIG’ items that I know will take time. Still, I can tell this will be a work in progress for me. I really appreciate all your tips!

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