Get rid of half of your inbox

Hi, this is Cyril from Work Smarter, Live Better. In this video, I would like to suggest a simple rule, a simple trick to reduce the volume of email you are receiving nearly by half.

Sounds too good to be true? Let’s see.

I was working recently with a group of Partners from a global consulting firm in Germany and they were all complaining about the volume of emails. Now these gents are on the extreme side of the scale receiving between two to four hundred emails per day. Insane…

And the issue is not only the volume. It’s also the number of emails they receive which are not relevant to them, which shouldn’t have been sent to them.

We had a whole session on email management (lots of fun  ). Among many other things, I made two simple suggestions which really resonated with many:

The first one is the CC folder. What is the CC folder?

For those who use Outlook, you can create rules. And a very simple rule you can create is that whenever you get an email if you are only CC’d on it, you can ask Outlook to move this email into a very specific CC folder. And what you do is to batch your CC folder. So you check your CC folder only once a day, or once a week if you are brave.

Now you still need to check your CC folder from time to time. Otherwise, you might as well direct all your CCed emails in the bin. But you are triaging them. And you are reducing the volume in your inbox.

The second one is the CC color coding rule.

If you find the CC folder rule too extreme, you can also ask Outlook to create another rule, which is the color coding rule. You can ask Outlook to color-code every email that you receive that you’re only CC’d on into a different color. So you visually see the one that you’re CC’d and this help to make a visual triage when processing your inbox.

I debriefed with them a few weeks after. And the ones who tried it loved it.

First, it reduced the size of your inbox when you have the CC folder, but also it accelerates our processing. They mentioned that when they check their CC folder, it’s super quick because a lot of emails in it are not relevant. So it is a quick check and delete or file. Now there are a few emails in the CC folder that shouldn’t been. The sender should have send it To them rather than CCed them. That’s ok, they process the email and also let the person know that in future, please include me in the To list not CC list if you want me to do something.

The main feedback is that it increased the speed to triage their inbox.

This is this week’s Work Smarter, Live Better tip. Simple. If you are receiving a lot of emails, triage the CC’d somewhere, into a CC folder or into a different color. That will accelerate your email processing time.

Until next time, you take care.

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