How many mails in your inbox? (always too many)

Today’s menu is “time management applied to effective mail management”.

I have been inspired by Prof. Randy Pausch lesson;

I strongly recommend you to spend 80 minutes on his video inspiring video (here)

I picked this important note from him:

your inbox is NOT your to-do list

How true it is.

Interruptions coming from the mail flow makes impossible to complete even the most simple task.

Look at those guys whose life is completely absorbed and “clocked” by instant messaging and social network.

To me they look like human network element, brain is always busy routing information. But processing is something different.

A great indication comes form this graph (credits to


Back to our inbox, the recommendation is to always  keep it almost empty.

Consider it like your desk. When it reaches the critical “randomness confusion zone”, you can’t even write a note on it (I saw people using the chair to sign a document with a borrowed pen).

As soon as a mail comes, you can process it first in terms of priority:

Is it more important than what I am doing right now?

Is it really worth reading it right now?

If it is not, just move it into a priority rank folder tree.

I’d recommend you to keep 3 folders, urgent, medium and “indefinitely postponable”.

Just place the incoming errand in one of these.

You have to remember that urgent and important are separate concepts, and you’d better work on a list ranked by importance rather than by urgency.

“Short term response required” on “low importance matter”  means postponable.

Indefinitely, or at least until you have enough time to worry about unimportant stuff.

I wish you never see that day dude.


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