How I’m Trying Not to Let Email Run My Life

All too often, email runs my life. Like way too often. I work in an email driven industry. I have email on all my devices. If I fall behind on email one day, or one weekend, it’s over. Or at least it feels like it’s over. So, here are some things that I’ve been trying to put into place to not let email run my life.

1. The new gmail app for iOS is the way to go. I’ve used mail for the iphone and ipad for a long time but I’m firmly on the gmail app train now. It syncs way better, it keeps my folders better, keeps my settings better and all jazz. The way this helps me to not let email run my life is my folders. I’m a folders guy. I put stuff in folders and it’s the best way to keep my inbox in control. Which brings me to my next point.

2. I have to keep my inbox under 25. That’s the only time I ever feel like I have email under control or when I don’t forget to respond to certain emails. 25 is what gmail let’s stay on the front page in the settings that I have. You could probably change this, but I don’t recommend it.

3. I do this by folders and by trying to only keep certain emails once. Read. If a response is needed, then respond. If not, then just put it in a folder or delete it. If I need to think about it or am eagerly waiting a response, I keep it in my inbox. But, it’s important to me to keep this under 25.

4. A new move that I’ve made is moving my email icon to my second screen on my phone. This way I’m not checking my email all the time. This has been hard to implement but I feel like will be a good change for me. I used to be tied to the email machine and tied to everything that was happening with email. I’ve found that moving my icon to the second screen has been helpful for me to not be tied to everything happening with my email.

5. This way I check my email less at home, but when I do I am able to get through the junk messages pretty quickly and respond to the ones that need response. If things need to wait until Monday when I get to the office, I let them do that.

What do you do to keep your email under control? Am I missing any pointers?



Filed under Family, organization

2 responses to “How I’m Trying Not to Let Email Run My Life

  1. JMillyMills

    Tim Ferris talks about this problem in 4-hr work week. He suggests batching. This means instead of jumping at email notifications, you set aside times where you handle emails (e.g., you check email at 11 and 4). This way you can focus on the important things without the urgent always being a distraction.

    I was never really able to carry this out at UVA, because often times you have to know if class got cancelled or an assignment changed on the fly…well at least you have to know if class has been cancelled 🙂

    If you are worried people will complain, they might, but eventually people will learn that you aren’t someone that jumps for any distraction. However, given your job, maybe you have to be able to leave some room for the urgent.

    Just some thoughts man. Hope you’re well.

    • I’m familiar with the book from a conversation we had in college.

      I think his idea of not always treating email as urgent is where I want to get to in my mental mind. And since my day to day flexes, it would be hard to set a consistent set of times for my email.

      It would be crazy to just work four hours a week and get as much done. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

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