In a previous post I spoke about my use of Rules and Custom Actions in Outlook. In this post I’ll talk about my Review process which I adapted from David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology.
There are several decisions that need to be made when reviewing email:
- Is this for me?
- Is it something that I need to do right now?
If the email is not for me then I need to decide who it is for. Once I have made that decision I Delegate the responsibility of the email.
I will forward the email (or write up a new email with the salient details) and send it to the person that I’m delegating the responsibility to. But here’s the trick … I have a rule that if I put my email address in the BCC line it will be moved to a folder called
@waiting and flagged as a follow up item.
I then review the
@waiting folder once a day or every other day and will send a follow up email if needed OR delete the email once the person has responded to me.
The next decision I need to make is “Do I need to do this right now?” If I don’t, then I’ll Defer a response or action to the needed time. Unfortunately Outlook doesn’t have a good defer mechanism like my beloved OmniFocus, so I will convert the email into a meeting and remove the attendees other than me to a data and time when I need to work on the email.
Finally, the email may require me to Do something right now. In that case, I focus fully on the requirements of the email and do it.
This may involve scheduling a meeting, or supplying times when I’m available for a meeting, or it might be answering a question asked of me. I will do any necessary research OR as I start working on the email that requires a decision I’ll discover that I don’t have enough information to actually make that decision.
When that happens I’ll send an email (either forwarding or creating a new one) to the person I think that can supply the information and, you guessed it, I’ll BCC myself so that the email is put into my
Using the above methodology I’m able to manage the massive amounts of email that I receive. Hopefully this helps someone out there who is drowning in email.