How many emails are you NOT receiving?

After my two posts on email, handling email on business trips and clearing a pile of emails after the trip, let me comment on a common problem with email - Email has become an indicator of how busy or important one is. That's silly and counter-productive.
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Ever got this question: How many emails do you receive per day? The bigger the number, the more of a figure you are, right? Wrong.

I'm aiming at receiving as few emails per day as I can.

This gives me time to do more productive work then answering email. Here's how I do it:

1) I turn off email notifications

I created filters for all my notifications to go to "notifications" folder and skip inbox right away. All my Twitter, Facebook and other notifications go there. This amounts to a large portion of my email passing me unnoticed. Why?

Because when I want to use Twitter, I go on Twitter. When I want to connect with Friends on Facebook. I go there. I don't want to be forced to go there and don't need to be notified who did or wrote what. I'll go later and see.

I constantly tweak my filters to get rid of most of my notifications.

2) I don't subscribe to Newsletters - I read RSS feeds

I know, even though I do run Newsletters for both Nozbe and Productive Magazine, I don't subscribe to newsletters myself. If I'm interested in something, I add it to my RSS feeds in my Google Reader account. I read these later... again - when I decide to do it. When I have time for reading.

(I use the great Reeder app on my iPad, it's great for reading!)

3) I delegate emails to my assistant

My great assistant Delfina is handling all Nozbe support and lots of my other email-related activities. I know not everyone can have an assistant but it's great to have one (thanks for being there for me Delfina!) and even greater to learn how to gradually "use her" for outsourcing some of the emails that need to be handled. But this is a material for a different blog post.

It's a question of choice - I choose to have less email.

I just want to spend my day doing more productive work than email so I choose to receive less every day and, yes, I believe this smart approach is something to brag about. Less is more. More time for productive work, anyway.

How many emails are you NOT receiving today?


--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 (email,productivity)

Martin Lucas
Jan 16, 2011 08:05
I like the idea of filtering Twitter / Facebook emails to a notifications folder - might do the same as these emails are always arriving in my inbox throughout the day. It would be nice to just check these all at once at the end of the day.
Michael Sliwinski
Jan 18, 2011 10:44
I use email filters to put notifications to a separate folder and skip inbox. I don't want to be bothered by facebook/twitter status alerts and you shouldn't be, too. Thanks for your comment Martin!
simonsmark
Apr 28, 2012 04:40
I started using Sanebox to create rules and keep my inbox clean. I am using different accounts on Windows, Mac and iOS and it was hard for me to harmonize rules. Sanebox came to the rescue and has been fantastic to keep me focused.