Managing Email

My post today was my first in about a month– sorry about that.  It’s been a busy time for the company and my family as well.

I’ve been meaning to write about managing the large volumes of email many of us receive.  When I was thinking of this subject a few weeks ago I did some googling around to see what others had to say.  There are a lot of different approaches out there!

Here is what I’ve been trying to do:

1) Delete email I really don’t need.  Like the ones where someone says "thanks".  When will I ever need that email?  I used to keep every email (and piles of useless stuff at home, too).  I’ve taken to deleting everything that isn’t pretty obvious that I’ll need again.  No "whoops!" experiences, yet.

2) Keep my Inbox clean.  I use folders in my webmail and move messages to folders– mostly categories of who sent me the message.  I use the Inbox like a short task list now.

3) Make my subject lines summaries of the content.  My consistency could improve here, but I like the idea and I have had some small success.  Instead of something like, "FW: Some customer name" I say, "FW: This customer needs help with a private label website".  I do rewrite FW: and RE: subject lines.  I think it saves people time on the receiving side.  This is probably my favorite new email almost-habit.

Let me know if you have any good ideas for managing a lot of email!


Kirk Averett is the senior director of product for Cloud Office at Rackspace.


  1. I started using David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” approach and love it. It’s totally transformed the way I do email and the rest of my life too. I love the satisfaction of seeing my inbox empty at the end of each day, and it helps me be so much more productive. I highly recommend the book. You an get an insight into the system at his website, Here’s a workflow diagram that gives you the outline of the process: .


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