19: How to regain control of your inbox

19: How to regain control of your inbox

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

Product managers just loooove solving problems and answering questions.  Emails present us with an enticing list of both, which is why we find it so hard to tear ourselves away from them.  I reveal three quick tips to show you how you can regain control of your inbox after the break!

The trick to regaining control over your emails is skim-read them and to use The Four Ds:

The numbers of emails should correspond roughly to the size of circles above, namely that the number of emails you actually need to respond to immediately yourself should be minimal.

When I surveyed my team to see how they spent their working day, we found that we were spending most of our time on email.  As an experiment we tried the following:

  1. Block out two thirty-minute slots for reading and responding to emails, one in the morning, one in the afternoon
  2. Don’t check emails outside of these two allocated slots
  3. When checking the emails, use The Four Ds

See how much more time you have in the day when you follow these steps.

Why don’t you share how you got on, or some of your own tips for regaining control of your inbox, in the comments?


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Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

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