Why Pocket is my inbox lifesaver
I don't think I'm the first person to make this observation... but staying on top of emails is hell.
Setting aside time for email is a nice idea. But response times matter too. So I'm always torn between dealing with emails (and other messages) as quickly as possible, and the alternative of switching off from everything other than the precise job at hand.
As with almost anything in life, it's actually about finding the right balance for you. For the business you're in. For the type of day you're having.
But Pocket helps me. Here's why, plus a few other tips you will find helpful.
If you haven't heard of Pocket, you should definitely check it out.
Pocket lets you save things you want to read later, in a number of really handy ways (browser extensions, app extensions, email, etc.).
There are alternatives, such as the popular Instapaper.
How does it help with email?
How much of your email needs a response? How much of the stuff sitting in your inbox right now are things you just don't want to forget about?
If it's an article you want to read, a video you want to watch, or anything along those lines, save it to Pocket. Tag it with some useful tags. Delete the email. And read it later.
How do I find time to read it later?
Yep, so this is the tricky bit. But this is where the 'just in time, not just in case' philosophy comes into play.
All those things you save to Pocket don't need to be cleared out anytime soon. Next time you sit down to read something, you'll have plenty of great stuff to choose from. But you can archive the rest. And then when you're looking for something to read because you have a client proposal to create, just search pocket for 'client proposal' and you'll find everything you've saved on the topic.
You don't need to read everything that hits your inbox just in case you'll ever need it, but if you save it to Pocket, you'll have it if you need it. You can read it just in time.
Other tips for reducing email hell:
- Don't work from your inbox as that's letting other people set your priorities, use something like Todoist to priorities your tasks and your day
- Even more simplistic than a task manager is a notes app - Bear is definitely my favourite
- Think about whether the issue at hand is really going to be solved on email. Lengthy email threads rarely ever lead to anything good
- Set up a better way to communicate internally. Slack contributes to the problem, in my opinion. But Basecamp works very well
- Calendly is an awesome way to cut down on those 'can do this date, can't do this one' email back and forths