In the Trenches: Managing My Email

At Cranky Concierge, we help clients by whatever means of communication — phone calls, text messages, tweets, emails — is necessary. Email is our main method of talking with people, but it’s also a giant time sink. Right now I need to get a better handle on my inbox.

Right before I started the company, I went on my honeymoon and didn’t check email for a couple of weeks. I returned to no more than 250 messages in my inbox. These days, however, I often receive that volume of correspondence in a single day. Frankly, it’s overwhelming.

Since we use Google Apps, I try to take advantage of Gmail’s filtering capabilities, but I get nervous. I worry that I’ll set up a filter incorrectly and accidentally file away important messages before I’ve read them. That happened a couple years ago, when the spam filter got a little too aggressive (on its own, not from my intervention). We lost customers because I didn’t see the emails until it was too late.

But the volume of email I receive today is simply too much for me to handle, so I need to do something. One area where I think I can make some headway is in our internal email processes. For example, our office chief is the employee who charges client credit cards, puts flights into our system for tracking, and records sales. So we all send emails directing him to do these things for our clients, and that creates a ton of clutter when a flood of replies comes through confirming receipt of the requests. Clearly, I could come up with a better system.

Of course, it also doesn’t help that I receive a ton of emails from PR people for the blog I write, the Cranky Flier. I try to unsubscribe to as many as I can, but it seems as if whenever I unsubscribe from one list, I get on two new ones. Separate accounts don’t help: I monitor all my email at the same place, and I don’t want to miss the one thing that matters, regardless of which email address it was sent to.

In the end, I just need to find a way to take control of the situation. What solutions work for you?

About Brett Snyder

Brett is the Founder and President of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. He also writes the consumer air travel blog, The Cranky Flier.
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4 comments
lloyddobbler
lloyddobbler

Hey, Brett! Funny - just got back from 2 weeks off the grid, and have been thinking the same thing. 

 

Not a solution (there are a ton of those posts out there, and I have yet to find one that works perfectly for me), but an interesting side note: there's a great little script for Google Apps users called the Gmail Meter. Provides a ton of useful data that you can use to figure out just how much email you're receiving/sending, and what are the key types of email that are clogging up your life.

 

Our CEO wrote about it here (in another one of the many "email is taking over my life" posts):

http://www.fullcontact.com/blog/email-has-taken-over-my-life/

 

Well-worth checking out. Particularly if you like to geek out on data.

nbarnard
nbarnard

You might consider finding a ticketing system to move some of those internal processes out of email. There are several systems out there, but Zendesk is one thats out there and which seems reasonable.

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