Just wondering - how in the name of the seven hells can I answer more emails faster, and reduce the long term amount of stuff I need to answer? Yes, I know that there is a *delete*-button, but, generally, what can you recommend me there. - I am a notorious workaholic, mind you, and I realize I need to take some time off, sometimes...
It depends on your situation. To reduce the number of emails you receive, use the phone and face-to-face conversation more and email less, and encourage the same with your co-workers. Re-evaluate what you need to be cc'd on, and whether you need to use so many cc's.
If you use Outlook, learn to use "rules".
Also, run a few lifehacker.com and youtube searches for email management or email productivity. There are loads of principles and techniques and systems you can use to become more efficient.
To be honest, my first step for you would be to have you evaluate why you have so many unanswered emails. Are they certain types that you just put off?
Next I would have you look at your email structure. Do you use folders? Are the emails you need to reply to getting lost in a massive inbox behind other emails that you decided to go ahead and open?
Do you look at email as soon as it arrives? Do you open based on subject/sender? Do you have a set time to open/respond to emails?
Do you use rules to move certain types of emails to folders?
Do you use reminders/tasks/due-dates on emails to send a response?
There is a lot I would want to know before I gave you any type of path to go on. If I gave you one that was opposite from how you work, or would require too much setup or change, it is doubtful that you would follow through, esp with a history of not following through on things you should(ie the emails that are the reason for this thread)
I do a lot to make this happen. Here are some things I do, using Outlook.
* Rule: if the mail comes to a distribution list, it automatically goes into my "mass mailings" folder.
* Rule: if the mail has "142" in the title (that's the number of one of my classes), it goes straight to my 142 grading folder. Students are asked not to put "142" in the title if they want an immediate response.
* Rule: if anybody sends me something that is clearly a time-waster, I add a rule -- that person's mails go straight to my delete folder.
* Rule: certain things in the subject line that indicate it'll waste my time ("Iraq" used to be an example) are covered by a rule that sends things to the delete folder.
* My work email never gets sent to anybody that's not an individual and a real person. I still get spam, but not much. My workplace has an automatic spam filter that catches 2-5 messages a week for me, and sends me a notification. I delete the notification unread, because it's been completely accurate so far. If I must give a web site my email, I use my "feel free to send me spam because I don't read it anyway" account on Yahoo!.
* I use folders extensively for different areas of life: for classes, for investing, for this and that social org I'm in, for things related to my kids...
And I'm still spending half an hour today moving things around and deleting them.
Wow, thanks so much! Much to process, but many good ideas! :)
Will get back to you later, will try to implement a few of those...
I have my non-time-sensitive emails handled through unroll.me
Basically it gathers all of today's emails and formats them into a single email I will get tomorrow morning. A quick browse down that lets me know what I need to read, reply to, or just ignore. It's quite nice.
There I was going to give you guys my thanks, then, in the process of posting this, I realize I have TWO accounts here! -_- Talk about decluttering my internet... (Will contact support.)
Anyway, on topic: MANY THANKS! :) Evaluating some of the measures I took over the last few days, I can say that I am slowly wading out of the swamp that I myself created. Unroll.me seems like a feature that fits right into what I am trying to establish for myself. :)