If I spend a week off email, how do I handle returning to 500 email messages (and it is fortunate it is summer vacation!)? My goal is to get through most of the email messages in 24-48 hours so more mail does not accumulate and bring my InBox to less than 20 messages.
My email falls into five categories: personal messages, work messages, committee/volunteer-associated messages, news alerts, and mailing lists. I have all my email delivered to Gmail, with some message automatically assigned a label upon arrival (such as mailing lists and work messages). My first step is to quickly scan through the all messages in my InBox for anything that appears urgent. This means looking for personal messages and quickly scanning the first line as it appears in gMail – occasionally opening the message to verify the urgency. If it can be handled in less than a minute or two, I respond immediately otherwise I mark the message to unread and continue to scan. (more…)