Improving your email habits can drastically increase your productivity. Like any new approach, these take focus and practice. But after awhile, they will become habits that support you.
1. Check email only at scheduled times for a specified amount of time. Twice a day for 30-60 minutes works well for many. Unplug until the next scheduled time.
2. Unsubscribe relentlessly. Make sure you receive only the things you really want to— and do—read.
3. Reduce the amount of routed email (i.e., cc’d from coworkers) to only that which is essential.
4. “Slash and burn” on your first pass through your inbox. Use the second pass for replies and other follow-up actions.
5. Empty your inbox every day and keep it that way. Delete most and file the rest.
6. Include all of your contact information in your signature—phone, fax, website—so that others don’t have to hunt for this information.