When you receive almost 150 work emails every day, your inbox can quickly become the bane of your existence.
That suffering increases exponentially when you’re the leader of a company.
So how do busy people manage their overwhelming inbox flux?
We looked to top executives like Ivanka Trump and Tim Cook for some answers:
'As with many things in life, you have to manage your inbox, or it will manage you,' the executive vice president of development and acquisitions at The Trump Organisation and head of the Ivanka Trump lifestyle brand writes on Fortune.
One strategy she employs to manage email inefficiency is to periodically search her inbox for frequent emailers, identifying those people who send 'long, meaty emails that really are better discussed through conversation rather than electronically,' and then she sets up a weekly check-in meeting with them to discuss ongoing questions or issues.
Going forward, these people can only email Trump if something is urgent.
'I find that a handful of 'offenders' make up the lion's share of my email overload,' she says.
The golden rule for email management, according to Weiner, is, if you want less email, send less email.
He writes on LinkedIn that the rule occurred to him at a previous company when, after two email-happy colleagues left the company, his inbox traffic decreased by almost 30%.
'Turns out, it wasn't just their emails that were generating all of that inbox activity -- it was my responses to their emails, the responses of the people who were added to those threads, the responses of the people those people subsequently copied, and so on,' Weiner writes.
He continues: 'After recognising this dynamic, I decided to conduct an experiment where I wouldn't write an email unless absolutely necessary. End result: Materially fewer emails and a far more navigable inbox. I've tried to stick to the same rule ever since.'
In this fascinating Quora thread about CEO email habits, Michael Chen, a responder who once met Hsieh, writes that the Zappos CEO told him he had a team of four or five full-time email handlers.
'Fun fact, I think their official titles are 'Email Ninja,'' Chen says.
'My boss told me that whenever you're writing a letter -- and now it applies to emails today -- never start a paragraph with the word 'I,' because that immediately sends a message that you are more important than the person that you're communicating with,' Tisch tells The New York Times' Adam Bryant.
He says that having to think about how to start a sentence without 'I' helps you become a better writer and teaches you how to really think through an issue.
Gates tells 'Today' that he only receives between 40 and 50 emails a day.
'So you process some, and get back to others at night. You make sure if you put something off you get back to it later,' he explains.
When a customer emails Bezos to complain about something Amazon-related, which they can easily do, Bezos often forwards the message to the appropriate person at the company, adding just one character: '?'
'When Amazon employees get a Bezos question mark email, they react as though they have discovered a ticking bomb,' Businessweek reports. 'They have typically got a few hours to solve whatever issue the CEO has flagged and prepare a thorough explanation for how it occurred, a response that will be reviewed by a succession of managers before the answer is presented to Bezos himself.'
Huffington has three simple rules for email:
1. No emails for half an hour before bed.
2. No rushing to emails as soon as she wakes.
3. No emails while she is with her children.
'The last time my mother got angry with me before she died was when she saw me reading my email and talking to my children at the same time,' Huffington writes in her book, 'Thrive.' 'Being connected in a shallow way to the entire world can prevent us from being deeply connected to those closest to us -- including ourselves.'
The former Google executive tells The Guardian that he's 'not a big sleeper' and wakes up at 5 a.m. or 5:15 a.m. every day to work out, read, tinker with the site, and hang out with his middle daughter, who is also an early riser.
But he says he tries to hold off on sending emails until around 7:00 a.m.
The online marketplace CEO tells Fast Company that you need to have a system for everything, no matter what it is.
For example, whenever he meets someone new and adds their contact information to his address book, he includes a note about when they met and what they discussed. That way, whenever he emails someone, he can directly reference their meeting before he moves on.
Goldin considers her morning a critical part of her day and devotes the wee hours of the morning to checking her email and schedule.
She says she heads straight to her inbox at 5:30 a.m. because 'doing this gives me a clear understanding of what the next 12 hours are going to look like and what my priorities are once I get to the office.'
Zuckerberg tells Marie Claire that she has two important rules when it comes to email:
1. She waits at least 20 minutes after she's woken up before she checks it.
2. She holds off on sending emails when she knows she's feeling overly emotional.
'You'll likely breathe a sigh of relief that you didn't send it once you've read it again,' she says.
Lars Dalgaard, general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, doesn't let employees complain over email
In an interview with The New York Times, Dalgaard tells Bryant that if someone emails him complaining about a colleague, he adds the person they were complaining about to the email string and says something like, 'Hi, Kim, it looks like Carl has something to talk to you about. I really look forward to you guys meeting and figuring this one out.'
Dalgaard says this strategy sends the message that it's important to be human and talk to people face-to-face about problems.
'When you look someone in the eye, you're not going to be that rude. It's just impossible,' he explains. He says that when talking face-to-face becomes routine in your life, it becomes the most rewarding part. 'In fact, I seek it out, because there's where I can make the biggest contribution. If you can get organizational silos to talk to each other, then you can have power in your organisation.'
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