The Q&A series is where we ask influencers and friends of ZURB for their opinions. This week we are turning to productivity and asking folks about how they manage email.
Chris Sacca once said: "Email is a task list created for you by someone else." Robert Scoble once pointed out: "Remember: the more email you send out the more you'll get back!" Most of us fall victim to the insane amount of email we get every day. We need to check in and respond to most of our incoming email. Some of us treat it as a task list, others of us try to check in with it every few hours. We are addicted to email. A lot of the time email gets in the way of our day as we accomplish less and less by answering more and more email. We turned to the influencers (the folks who really have tons of email) to ask how they manage email.
Question: How do you manage email?
I try to do this (see the image). Just to clarify, this was given to me by a friend, I didn't make it myself, but I do try to follow it.
Caterina Fake, Co-Founder of Flickr
I try to only check it a few times a day but I'll be first to admit I'm not disciplined enough. The best thing to do with email is turn it off for a few hours every day so you don't even have it close or accessible. I've started using a program calledA'Concentrate that actually lets you enter an activity state and block access to things like email, IM, etc.
Though I respond to most emails I mentally think of replying to email as optional which changes your perception of the task. Think of how many times you hear - "I have to check my email". Really? You have to check it? Unless your last name is Obama you probably don't have to check your email... and even he could probably use a few time outs.
-Ben Blumenfeld, Communication Design Manager at Facebook
I loathe email. Unfortunately it's still the primary means of most business communication over 140 characters. I used to try and keep my inbox below 50 items as regularly as possible. Now I get to email when I can, even if that means a swelling inbox. It's just not worth it to me anymore to devote significant chunks of my day to managing email.
-Cameron Moll, Founder of Authentic Jobs, Designer, Author, Speaker
My email is a to do list that anyone and everyone piles on. And then they get mad when I don't do the random list of "have-tos" that they sent me. I check in about twice per day, but it takes forever for me to get out of it. I just get 100 emails per day from people who I care about but don't have time to respond to. The single most frustrating part of my day is email. I'm desperate for a solution.
-Andrew Warner, Founder of Mixergy.com
I check e-mail a few times an hour and have a separate task list I keep for my day-to-day. I don't really organize my e-mail beyond that.
-Julie Zhuo, Product Design Manager at Facebook
Curious to hear from you. How do you manage your email?