I’m a huge Tim Ferriss, 4-Hour Workweek fan.
His best piece of advice, though, is on checking e-mail and running through it in batches. E-mail is one of the biggest time sucks. Not only will you get hundreds of e-mails a day if you work for a big company, but you can spend your whole day just checking e-mail.
In his book, Ferriss suggests checking e-mail twice a day and setting up an auto-responder the rest of the time that says something like:
Thank you for e-mailing me. Due to an increase workload, I am checking email at 12 pm and 4 pm. This will allow me to better handle your requests and process my workflow.
It’s genius. I did that at ESPN for a while, and my productivity shot up. Unfortunately, the auto responder upset some people, and I was asked to take it down. You may have better luck at your company, but in case you don’t, you can still climb out of e-mail hell.
I still think you can get away with batching e-mail and checking once or twice a day. But you have to be an e-mail master. Basically, no one is going to care that you batch e-mail as long as you stay on top of things.
I have found two great ways to do just that.
I use a Mac for work, and there is a great way to add a reminder to any e-mail. Check it out in this screencast.
This tool will let you BCC or CC instructions in an e-mail and automatically respond to you when it’s time to follow up. It’s best seen from this screencast.
By using these tools, you’ll never forget to follow up on an e-mail. You can stay organized and take control or you inbox instead of vice versa.
Cody is a Product Manager and Social Media Specialist at ESPN. He manages, conceptualizes and develops many of the social aspects of ESPN.com. He also is Founder and CEO for Gunner Technology, Inc an end-to-end Web strategy company, providing solutions for businesses. Previously, Cody worked as a developer for ESPN.com, building many of the live scoreboards and GameCast applications. In a previous life, he covered Florida Gator sports as a beat reporter, talk show host and television producer. Cody earned an MBA, Masters Degree in Communication and Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. He currently lives in Los Angeles. To find out more, read his blog, follow him on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.