The email in your mailbox is your copy of what was said, and nobody else can change it or make it go away.
The fact that the content of an email can’t be edited is one of the best things about POP3 and IMAP email standards. I admit it annoyed me when I first ran into it – why can’t you just fix up a message in place – but the immutability is the real strength of email.
You can safely forget the detail of something that you read in an email, knowing that when you go back to look at it, the information will be exactly the same.
This widely circulated system for using Gmail from Andreas Klinger was the tipping point. It takes about 15 minutes to set up, and gives you a thoughtful, efficient system for plowing through your inbox.
The system itself is great, but I found that just having a system at all made it a lot easier to dive in to a full inbox.
We need to view email as a framework, not an application. It is used for sending messages. That's it. It does this reliably and predictably.
Replacing email with 'smarter' features will inevitably leave people out. I understand the desire to have email just be one huge TODO list. But sometimes I just want to send a fucking message, not 'make a TODO.' Boom, I just 'broke' the new email.
Email works because it does nothing but messaging.
As an early stage investor I want to help startups succeed. If you email me – or anyone, really – your job is to succinctly communicate your situation and how I can help.
Clearly explain what you do.
Avoid any jargon or complex terms. Remember, I’m probably not using 100% of my brain when reading your email so optimize for that. I’m sorry if this sounds like I’m disrespecting your communication. That is not my intention. It’s just that I check my email all the time and I cannot guarantee that I won’t be distracted or that my mind won’t be focused on other things.
Always update the subject line when you’re changing thread or content. Don’t allow threads to carry over for months. With subject lines, always use complete information. Try to avoid being vague with phrases like “checking in” or “update,” instead write “update on the Jones project.” It’ll save you and the recipient time because you won’t have to guess what’s inside the email.
It puts you on the treadmill of dealing with every email as soon as it comes in, and even make that appear like the organized, virtuous thing to do. But it's not.
All email is not important. In fact, most of it is not important! I savor my Mailbrews exactly because they're not urgent. I don't try to read it all as soon as it hits my inbox.
This has been a primary mission for our new email product Hey – get you off the inbox-zero treadmill, and back to loving email, because you're reading the important stuff urgently, and the leisurely stuff when you have time.
Email is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, email represents a different model from the closed ecosystems we see proliferating across our computers and devices.
Email is a refugee from the open, interoperable, less-controlled 'web we lost.' It's an exciting landscape of freedom amidst the walled gardens of social networking and messaging services.
I’ve created a Gmail filter that matches the address of all newsletter I follow (using the OR operator to do it in a single query). This filter applies a “newsletters” label to each matching email and archives it.
Aspiring to inbox zero—an empty inbox, perfectly clean and organized and contained—is for most people some mythical idea. The world seems to be conspiring to keep it from happening. And obsessing over it can be totally counterproductive if it means you give priority to emails that don’t deserve your attention at the moment.
But inbox zero is totally possible if you add emails to a to-do list, along with all other worldly tasks, that you can keep prioritized according to what you really need to get done. What you really want out of any given day, week, or lifetime. Which is rarely to be beholden to the whims of an inbox.
Writer Android Intelligence, Fast Company and more
For every email you encounter, choose from the following fast-triage options:
If a message requires no action on your behalf, archive it immediately.
If a message requires a simple reply that you can knock out in a minute or less, respond right then and there—and then archive it immediately.
If a message requires some level of thought or response that you can’t get to right away, snooze it to a time and date when you will be able to handle it—whether it’s later that same day, sometime the following week, or on a Friday two months down the road.