Six tips to help you stay on top of your email

Sabrina Geremia is manager, integrated solutions, for Google and heads up its initiative to bring talented women into the tech industry. Here, Geremia’s advice for organizing emails. Step one: separate business and pleasure.

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organizing email

1. Separate business and pleasure

I have three different email accounts: Work, personal Gmail for friends and a third I share with my husband (it’s where we keep our family calendar to manage appointments and travel plans). Without having different inboxes I’d find it hard to keep track of who I’ve responded to and who I haven’t.

2. Try face time

If an email thread becomes too long, includes too many people or is delivering bad news, it’s probably not the right medium. This is the moment to get up from your desk or pick up the phone and actually have a conversation.

3. Weed out the clutter

I get over 100 emails a day so I have to have a system. When my inbox is full of unread messages, the first thing I do is delete or archive the ones I don’t need to read — I can usually tell from the subject line. The second step is to prioritize (star or label) the most important ones, then deal with them.

4. Email etiquette

Emails should be short and punchy, not essays. I often use bullets, or I bold key messages to make it clear what the purpose of the email is. Also, I don’t care how short it is — that’s no excuse for sloppy grammar, spelling, salutations or language.

5. Stop the deluge!

I regularly take a few moments to unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Simple, I know, but it really makes a difference. I’ve also found that the less email I send the less I receive.

6. Schedule screen time

Every Friday I sit down with my assistant to look at the week ahead and prioritize my time. Then we slot in blocks of work time. I use it to catch up on my emails. When I’m with my family I make sure I spend real time with my children instead of being distracted by my phone. The same goes for my team. We’ve developed a culture of not sending work-related emails on weekends unless it’s incredibly urgent.