Tools I use to Manage The Email Flood

I receive around 80 to 100 emails a day with project status, customer communication, partner communication etc. Now I am going to share my secret on how I manage these emails from slowing me down from a day to day basis in finishing my tasks.

We at Target Integration use Google Apps and here is the list of tools that I use:

  1. Gmail Web Interface – This is used from my Windows 8 laptop as well as my Ubuntu machine whenever I am logged on to it.
  2. Microsoft Outlook – Connected to Google Mail through IMAP
  3. Google Nexus 5 – My Sweet Phone with Gmail App

Here is the secret sauce. I would have said, I will have to kill  you after I tell you this but believe me I am glad to share it because it helps me and I think it may help you as well.

  • Use IMAP and not POP – Earlier I used to access emails over POP3 but that wasn’t good. All the emails downloaded from the server had to be read again in the web. They were never in sync so then I changed it from POP to IMAP and now everything is in sync.
  • Use Google Archive Functionality – Don’t Delete but Archive. Google gives you enough space and once you have replied to an email just Archive it. This way  you will have only unread emails or emails which are yet to be replied in your Inbox. I use Archive on Microsoft Outlook as well as Google Nexus. Emails are only deleted if I don’t think they will be of any use in future.
  • Reply In Less Than One Min – Reply every email that you can reply in less than one min immediately. Leave the rest for a time when you can assign more time to it. This helps to go through a large number of emails quickly.
  • Use Keyboard Shortcuts – If you want to be a power user of emails; use keyboard shortcuts. You can use Keyboard to do almost everything in Gmail Interface and you have to create some actions and give them shortcuts in Microsoft Outlook.
  • Read Oldest Emails First – If you check the oldest mail first you won’t miss any emails which are pending for a reply or an action and you will be able to get to them in the sequence that you want as well. Unfortunately this is not available on Gmail or I haven’t found it a way to do this yet. Microsoft Outlook is perfect in this regard.

And that’s it. Generally by the end of the day I am left with around 10 emails which serve as my action list for next day.

I hope this helps you as well.