Email is still the killer app of the internet. It’s also the biggest impediment to workplace productivity.
I’m not able to change the noise level of the email ecosystem. I’m also not going to extricate myself from it, because it’s critical for business. What I’m able to change is my own behavior, so I focused on developing ways to minimize the noise and maximize the value of email.
The quick win was to differentiate emails where I’m the sole recipient from other messages. Digging through my inbox, I saw that only 16 percent of emails were sent just to me. Every other message had multiple recipients, or CCed me. A couple of quick inbox filters and I could now manage the email noise.
Now, any email that has me CCed or BCCed skips my inbox and goes straight into a folder. These are not time-sensitive and I can deal with them at a less workflow-impacting time. A second filter highlighted every email where I was the sole recipient. These messages directed at me are likely important, requiring my attention.
Already, my inbox was looking much cleaner. Over 35 percent of my emails were now out of my immediate view into the CCed folder.