User:LuisV (WMF)/High-Volume Email
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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!
Getting Things Done is, in some sense, a guide to handling email (though the author would disagree).