At some point in my life, during my transition from developer to manager, my daily mail started to become unmanageable with more and more messages. So many that I neglected a good part of my work due to absent-mindedness or forgetfulness. I ended up realizing that the way I managed my messages - as if it were a personal account - was no longer working.

My opinion is that the way you manage your email is vital, it can make you the most organized and productive person in the company, or the absolute disaster in finding and managing your tasks. If you receive more than 20 emails a day, you should read on and worry about managing your mailbox efficiently.


Management methodologies

There are numerous methodologies for dealing with a lot of email, perhaps the most famous is GTD GTD (Getting Things Done). GTD establishes a way to organize your mail in 5 folders and explains the optimal flow to move messages from one folder to another. I am going to explain a much simpler way to manage email, which works for me and which I use on a daily basis. I can say that I hardly forget a single mail without checking or attending to it, unless I do it intentionally of course 😜.

Gestión eficiente de correo electrónico

The main goal you should accomplish is to keep your inbox clean. Almost all email managers have the possibility to archive emails. This means, remove them from the inbox but leave them in a storage in case you need to check them again.


 Your inbox should be like your to-do list:

❏ Mails you have not yet been able to read

❏ Mails that you have read but are waiting for your reply

❏ Mails that you expect to be answered and need to keep track of

❏ Mails you have sent and have moved to your inbox to follow up on.

❏ In general any issue that needs review by you.

 Tu bandeja de entrada debería ser como tu lista de tareas

You should never have more than 15-20 emails in your inbox. Better if there are 10. Better if there are 5. If you have to scroll in your browser to see them all, it will give you the feeling of "having too many" and that's not good. Do your best to archive emails (answering and closing topics, checking if a certain issue has already been solved, etc.).

Don't be afraid of compulsive archiving, remember that these emails are not deleted, they just go to a second storage that you can review later if necessary. Also, by archiving an email on a topic you consider closed, if someone replies again, it will magically return to your inbox (and you know, "shit always floats", pardon the expression).

I repeat: make sure that the emails you have in your inbox are emails on which you still have to perform some kind of action (either read, reply, wait for a reply, ask for an update on the status of a certain subject, etc.). If they don't meet any of these conditions, archive!

If you do this, you can forget about external tools to generate to-do lists, as there is no tool that works better than your own email, mainly because you inevitably check it every day. Besides, email allows you to set labels and set priorities without too much trouble. Write emails to yourself if necessary, then it will make it easier for you to check their status, add new notes or share the task by forwarding the email.

Manage your mail in this way with each message received, but dedicate 10-15 minutes a day (in the morning when you get to work is a good time) to "tidy up your house". Check your inbox completely, trying to reduce the number of emails as much as possible, leaving what really matters. And get to work so that the rest of the emails that you have not yet been able to archive will dwindle throughout the day.


To summarize it all:

❏ Every time you receive an email and you're done with it, you archive it.

❏ If it's still in your inbox, you still have something to do with it.

❏ Don't mark messages as unread to indicate that you have something to do, that just shows that you haven't opened it.

❏ Don't start your day with more than 20 messages in your inbox 😁


I hope you find my recommendations useful and put them into practice, and above all be more productive in managing your email and your personal tasks.

IMPORTANT: If you want to start managing your mail in this way, you must archive all your inbox and leave it completely clean. There is no other way. Don't be afraid, start being productive with every new mail that comes to you.


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