How do I keep email from invading my inbox

I often hear people complain about sifting through hundreds of emails every day. That’s almost never happened to me in the last year. Maybe I am not as important as them. Who knows? Nevertheless, I thought I’d share my email work-style with you’ll today since Sparrow 1.2 has launched :) I had to plug this in since I love Sparrow and keep wondering why Apple still has not got their Mail app right. Lets dive into how I keep email to the minimum.

  • I have a mental rule to unsubscribe to newsletters/ notifications that I have not read in the last couple of months. They need to go.

  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn notifications skip the Inbox.

  • I check my mail only a few times in a day and that too when I can respond. Don’t treat your email like a Twitter stream where you check it whenever you have 30 secs to spare. You will be spending more time when you keep checking your mail (like a fanatic) and then rereading them again to respond. You tire your mind each time you go through this cycle.

  • Push email is overrated. Switch it off to experience true bliss. I have push notifications disabled on the iPhone (luckily I use SparrowApp which does not have push notifications). I want to be in control when I check mail.

  • If something is important I will get an SMS or a call. Constantly checking mail just drains the f$$$ out of you.

  • I don’t like seeing an email backlog. Makes me feel unproductive. I take action on a mail when I read it - delete, reply or move it to a Followup or an OnHold label. I then check the follow-up label a few times a day and archive the email. This makes me feel on top of my work at all times.

  • I extensively use Gmail’s filtering and labels so that the not so important emails (notifications etc.) don’t even enter my inbox. They get pumped directly into the label. This in itself has cut my emails to 50%.

  • We use DeskAway (a tool that we built) to collaborate on projects so all important conversations happen on that system. Email is spared from the cc chains and numerous replies for something trivial.

  • I pick up the phone if I can get something done faster than email. It cuts down the back and forth.

I keep telling myself that technology was built to help us work smarter so that we have time to do the other things in life. Since email is an important part of our work life, it is extremely important to tame it and develop habits that make us more productive and efficient.

Do you guys have any secret tactics to combat email Inbox invasion? Would love to hear in the comments section below. Have a productive day!