How to be More Productive with Email

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Going though emails has become second nature to many of us. We do our best to wade through our inbox day after day. But, there is hope thanks to some very useful email tips.

Emails started out as a handy way to keep in touch. Now it’s gotten out of control.

“If you remember ten years ago with the movie “You’ve Got Mail” came out, email was a cool thing,” Dmitri Lenov of said. “You were looking forward to opening your inbox. Nowadays, we dread it.”

Lenov with Sanebox is working on ways to stop that.

“An average person get 110 emails a day,” Lenov said. “And an average corporate employee gets closer to 200.”

He says there are seven deadly sins of email we’ve all fallen guilty to.

“Really the first sin is not realizing you have a problem,” said Lenov. “So it’s being in denial. You think that by going through emailfaster, by clearing it out, the problem is going to go away, it’s not, it’s only going to get worse.”

Getting through your inbox can be like palying a game of whack-a-mole.

The only solution is really to prioritize Lenov said.

“Some emails need to be dealth with right away, some can wait, and others just need to be deleted right away,” he added.

Greed is signing up for stuff you don’t need. Sloth is being lazy and procrastinating on replies. Envy is acting jealous of others’ empty inboxes and gluttony is spending too much time wading through your inbox.

But wrath–disrespecting other people’s time, is the deadliest of emails sins.

“It’s interesting that… it actually takes longer to repond to an email than to send the original message,” he said. “So for every hour you spend writing an email, someone has to spend more than an hour responding to them. And that’s something to keep in mind.”

Staying away from email sins can lead to a lighter inbox load, leaving more time for other stuff–like Facebook, Twitter and Instagraming pictures of your food.

Here’s the full list and details of the email deadly sins from

1: Denying that you’re a sinner
This is the biggest sin of all. As you’re staring at your overflowing inbox,
admit that something went terribly wrong, and you won’t be able to
handle the daily barrage of emails. Now that you’re no longer in denial,
you can do something about it.

2. Gluttony: getting caught up in email and losing sight of priorities
Determine how much time you want to spend in your Inbox on a given day, and don’t
exceed it. Email is just one part of work. It’s also reactive by
nature. Unless you’re doing customer support, you can’t succeed when you’re reactive.

3: Wrath: punishing your neighbor by wasting their time
By not following the rules set out in the Email Charter, you’re seriously
mistreating your friends and coworkers. It’s a long list of 10 very
specific things, and you should do all of them. Always remember the
Golden Rule of Email: the more email you send, the more you get back.
(We found a correlation between emails sent and emails received in our
own data).

4: No pride: punishing yourself by wasting your time
Don’t treat every email like it deserves your attention. Not all email
deserves your attention. Some emails need to be read and responded to
right away. Some can wait. Others archived or deleted in bulk.

5. Greed: signing up for stuff you don’t need
Stop signing up for newsletters you’re never going to read. Less is more.

6. Sloth: being lazy and not following Inbox Zero rules
Don’t open the same email twice. Delete (or archive), Delegate (forward),
Respond, Defer or Do are the only possible outcomes. Anything else
wastes time. This could be the hardest of the sins to overcome – it
requires lots of discipline and can seem impossible at first. You must
power through it.

7. Envy: when a friend tweets “Inbox Zero!” don’t send him an email
That’s just mean, and you deserve to be in email hell!

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