It's hard for me to listen to any productivity advice that includes the suggestion that I turn off my email notification system. I know that it's a waste of time to keep returning to my inbox every time my message detector pops up--I've read Clive Thompson's article on interruption science that reveals that this tactic costs me hours of productivity each day. But I like getting email (hint, hint) and I like to think that there are some messages that come my way that are so important that if I must read them immediately. (Hold the phone--Southwest Airlines is having a system-wide sale!)
But the fact that it does not bend to my irrationality is no reason to completely dismiss a great new list of cranking-through-email suggestions from the folks at Web Worker Daily. They give six choices for how to deal with each email when you're clearing out your inbox:
(Rick's got some other great tips in the previous post, too.) Overall, it's a pretty great way to keep your inbox totally clean, even if you like to visit it dozens of times every day.
- respond immediately
- tag it "@reply" if you can't respond now (and archive it)
- delete it
- delegate it (forward and delete or archive)
- put it on your to-do list (and then archive), if it has an action in it that needs to be done later
- archive it if you need to refer to it later.