The 5 D’s of email management

Table of Contents

Does your mailbox ever overwhelm you?

It’s no surprise when there are nearly 500 billion emails sent every month. You’re not alone, but keeping your mailbox in check is the key to productivity. But how do you keep everything organised and tidy? The 5 D method is an extended version of Microsoft 4 D method to managing emails. These include defend it, delete it, do it, delegate it or defer it.

Defend it

In September 2021, 88.8 billion spam emails were sent globally. Once you’ve been added to the list, it’s nearly impossible to get off it. Blocking senders isn’t really an option when the sending addresses and domains are constantly changing. So how do you block the onslaught? Spam filters are just a small part of our managed IT services package. The technology analyses incoming emails across a number of criteria. Passed emails will vary depending on the server, but is an extraordinarily effective tool and first step to a tidy inbox.

Delete it

Once you start leaving the unimportant emails in your inbox, it becomes a habit. And before you know it, you have 2,000 irrelevant emails staring you in the face. Letting go of unwanted things can be hard for most of us, but deleting emails make your life so much easier. Even if you think you might need it one day, trust me you probably won’t. By removing the junk, you make searching far easier too. Remember, organised and tidy is the goal.

Do it

Seems easy but it actually takes a bit of time management. With the way work is set up, our to do list comes from a range of sources. It becomes easy to forget about the little things in our inbox. There’s a pretty simple rule when it comes to getting things done “If it can be done in under 2 minutes, do it right away. If not, then the email can stay”. That being said, don’t drop everything to check incoming emails. Productive work requires rhythm, something that’ll be very difficult to achieve if you’re constantly interrupting yourself. And if the email does stay, make sure to mark it so you don’t forget about it or accidentally delete it.

Delegate it

If you’re lucky enough to be working in a team, or manage a team, then use your resources. Often times there are situations where you can’t delete or complete the task. So make use of co-workers to become more efficient. Here’s a couple of quick examples for delegation:

  • Emails with simple tasks anyone can do
  • Emails a co-worker could complete more efficiently anyway
  • Emails requesting items/information you’re unfamiliar with
  • Emails that are extremely time intensive (passed to team members with the time to complete)

Defer it

Sometimes it can’t be done (right away), deferred or delegated. It’s perfectly okay to leave these emails and tasks to a later day. However, it’s important these aren’t deleted or moved before they are completed. Marking emails as unread and/or marking them as a ‘to do’ item is an excellent way to keep them on your list. Even if you’re waiting on confirmation from a person(s) it can be a good idea to leave the email in your inbox so you remember the task is still underway. Another tactic is to set reminders for times you want to action or reply to the email. Everyone has their own methods so it’s important to find one that works for you.

Extended email management techniques