How to Batch Process Email and Manage Co-Worker Expectations

Which do you think is more productive?

The decision should be easy.

This will be the simplest how to you’ll read today.

I’m also not going to explain why you should be batch processing email (or batch-processing any other low-value, low-payoff tasks). If you need an explanation, see above. Or, check out either of these two articles (the second one also addresses canned responses, which are also incredibly useful and discussed in my other posts here).

If you work at an organization that, for almost no good reason, operates on the “did you get my email” or “why didn’t you respond to the email I sent 30 seconds ago” M.O., not checking email for greater than five minutes may feel like an occupational safety hazard.

It is absolutely not though.

And when people understand that you’re not responding to their emails right away for good reason, they just might join you.

Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Determine when you’ll be checking your email (one, two, three times a day?)
  2. Create an out of office reply like the one below:
     — -
     Hi,
  3. If the email that you just sent me is urgent, please call me and let me know how I may help you (as I’m quite happy to do so). My number: 614-XXX-XXXX.
  4. Some background if you’re curious…
  5. In an effort to be more productive at work I have recently decided to batch process emails, as numerous studies have shown that productivity is severely hampered by continuously monitoring email.
  6. As such, I now read and respond to all emails between 3–4pm each day. If you need to reach me before or after this time period, feel free to call: 614-XXX-XXXX.
  7. Cheers!
     — -
  8. Check email only at carefully chosen intervals.

That’s it! Now get out there and stop answering email… so often.

Your boss will thank you (eventually).


Originally published at Josh Evilsizor.