User:LuisV (WMF)/High-Volume Email

These are my tips for handling email at high volume — they're hopefully useful for anyone who is coming to Wikimedia (and particularly the Foundation) from a less email-intensive environment. These mostly focus on Gmail, both because it is widely used and because it has good-to-excellent support for most of this functionality.


There are a variety of technologies that help handle email more efficiently. These include:

  • Keyboard shortcuts: Learning your email client's keyboard shortcuts will make you much faster, because it is always faster to hit a key than to move your mouse to a small target. Gmail's documentation for turning on keyboard shortcuts is here.
  • Filtering: Emails in your inbox are an interruption, and you should minimize interruptions that aren't important/time-sensitive. For example, emails to staff all-hands, or wikimedia-l, are important, but rarely time-sensitive, so they should not go to your inbox. Filters allow you to do that without unsubscribing altogether. Instructions for Gmail's filters are here.
  • Mute: "m" in gmail mutes a thread. So if you're certain you never want to see a thread again, hit "m" and it will vanish from your inbox.
  • Turn off notifiers/unread count: Notifications and unread counts are sources of interruption and stress. Turn them off.
  • Automated cleanup: You can create or adapt scripts to automatically clean-up your inbox. For example, I use this script to automatically remove all emails announcing leftover food in a kitchen 1 hour after it hits my inbox, and to archive staff welcome emails 5 days after they arrive.
  • Automated reminders: This script will send you a daily / weekly digest of messages that you have starred as important. Snooze lets you archive an email in the short term, but will automatically bring it back to your inbox at a spesified time.


  • Process inbox regularly
  • waitingfor tags/folders
  • separate “unread” and “need to act”:
  • Two-minute rule
  • If you’re never reading, unsubscribe; but filter first!




My friend Stephen's guide to email/Inbox Zero.

Getting Things Done is, in some sense, a guide to handling email (though the author would disagree).