I love email but when you get hundreds everyday, you begin to hate it. You spend more time responding to email than doing your work.
1. Smart Folders on the Mac
If you are on a Mac and using Apple Mail, create Smart Folders: one called Urgent for emails from people you need to respond to right away, for example.
2. A list versus B list, plus Skype
It’s time to create two or three different email addresses and to give them out selectively. You could have an email address with your name and give that out only to friends, family and office colleagues — this is the A-list. Create another that you give out to everyone else (for example, an email address that starts with info) — this is the B-list. In your email software, create a rule that sends out an autoreply: Because of the deluge of emails I may not get back to you right away. If it is really urgent, please call ### (this is your SkypeIn number). What, no Skype In yet? Get one here.
You can also use Gizmo Project, instead of Skype. I find that Gizmo works better on the Mac and it offers a call-in number too. You can check the messages on your SkypeIn or GizmoIn account via any landline or mobile phone, or through your computer. Skype and Gizmo Project are excellent services for people who travel a lot. The messages go into one voice mail box and you can listen from anywhere at any time.
What this does is weed out the time wasters from those who really need to talk to you.
3. Be brutal.
If you can’t be bothered to do any of the above, do this: delete emails that you don’t feel like responding to. The sender will re-send his message if he thinks it’s important.