Blog posts

How to handle large amount of mail

Published 14. November 2010 (Original blog)

[This post is originally written on my norwegian blog; I thought it suitable for this blog, so I translated it and reposted it here.]

I’m a student, work part-time as a system developer, and involve myself in student activities and other side projects. Aside from the production level this requires, it amounts to a massive level of mails. I receive between 30 and 50 mails per day, a number that decrease to about 10-20 in the weekends. In the past I wasn’t able to handle this amount, and while reading for my exams for spring 2010, I found myself realizing that enough was enough. I started the tedious process to clear out mail from the inbox, and to establish a system that would enable me to handle the incoming mail (procrastination before exam is a familiar concept).

After talking to Henrik Lied (one of the new students I’ve sponsored during IFI buddy-week [no]) about mail-processing, I thought I should share my approach, as he ruled it sensible. There are, after all, many approaches out there telling how you can become more productive in your work with mail. There are also the more wide-ranging frameworks, such as GTD. But this post is about mail and the efforts I made to make my days easier. I primarily use the service Gmail, and all functions described are from that usage.