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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There’s a special offer running for my Product Management Digital Masterclass – 25% off when you get tickets to the full set of sessions.

Live, conference-style talks with Q&A each Tuesday in October 2020, covering:

  • What does a product manager do (and not do)?
  • Understanding user needs
  • The secrets of meaningful product roadmaps
  • Landing and starting your product manager job

See you there!


Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner’s Guide to Product Management
by Jock Busuttil

“I wish this book was published when I started out in product management”

Keji A., Head of Product

Read a free excerpt

Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS).In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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