Tips for improving productive use of emails:
0. Use Gmail. It helps in using email most productively.
1. Use separate email IDs for work, personal life ( friends, family.. ) and online ( subscriptions, groups .. ) Set the frequency of checking in that order.
2. Use Gmail’s priority inbox feature and stop checking non-priority messages and spam.
3. If the mail is addressed to many and the issue is not urgent, wait for someone else to respond.
4. Use chat / phone. This is also a double edged sword.
5. When you are away, use a vacation responder with phone number for emergency contact. Avoids repetitive mails when you cannot respond.
6. Use filters. Archive / delete / label not so important mails.
7. Use canned responses for regular template messages you send to queries.
8. Go away from computer and access your mails through a basic cell phone with GPRS connection. This experience will teach you some good lessons like:
* Not all mails need to be opened.
* Not all mails need to be replied.
* Not all mails need to be replied at once.
* Short, to the point responses are OK.
9. Go completely offline for few days. This experience will teach you some good lessons like:
* Personal and urgent messages will always reach you through phone calls.
* We started using email only a decade back and the sky won’t fall if we don’t check mail every hour 🙂