Productivity killing emails

Most of my workflow is done through email. I’m a big believer in Inbox Zero and generally I think I’m pretty good at replying to people in a timely and hopefully helpful way.

But over the years I’ve noticed that there are certain emails I receive that completely knock me off balance. They start a cycle that means my inbox starts filling up again and I’ve been trying to work out what it is about them so that I can avoid sending similar emails myself and work out how to get myself back on track more quickly.

They basically have two characteristics:

  • They contain multiple asks that require multiple pieces of research — hence they’re difficult to add to a task list
  • They include things that really should be talked about face-to-face or at least on the phone

The steps to get over them are:

  • Recognise the email and realise I need to deal with it
  • Pick up the phone and sort out the bit that needs to be talked through
  • Set aside a time to deal with the multiple asks and put it in my calendar so it gets done

Sounds simple doesn’t it? But they do still hit me for six every now and then.

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