Are you an emailer? The real problem and the solution

Are you an emailer? The real problem and the solution

Posted on July 30, 2011

In my earlier post I listed out 4 common problems of email.  None of these is the real problem. The real problem is caused when one becomes an “emailer”.

What is an emailer?

You are an emailer…

  • If you check your email whenever it pops up.
  • If you do not have time marked on your calendar for email processing
  • If your inbox is not emptied on a regular basis
  • If you get into email jail at least once a week
  • If you read your email more than once multiple times
  • If you stress about email even after knowing that most of the world has solved the email problem

So, the real problem as I mentioned earlier, is closer and is staring at you when you look into the mirror. Yes, the real problem is you. The way you handle email has gotten you into email trouble.

Are you in denial?

If you are still in denial then let me explain further. If you are in the habit of checking your email whenever it pops up then you are giving equal importance to a junk email as well as an email coming from your client/boss. Imagine the post office works similar to an email server. Whenever someone sends you a regular mail, the postman rings your door bell and hands over mail to you. Imagine this happens multiple times during the day. Even when unimportant mail comes to you, you open the door and pick up the mail. If this happens on a regular basis, you will figure out a simple system to handle this. Similarly, you have to figure out a simple system to handle your email.

The solution

There is no one-size-fits-all solution because each one has an unique situation. But, there are some simple rules.

Rule #1: Turn off that email prompt. Visual as well as audio.

Rule #2: Schedule regular intervals for checking email. Put them on the calendar.

Rule #3: Get to Zero In-Box daily or at least weekly.

Rule #4: Start using the “Delete” button. It is ok to delete email that is not reference or actionable.

Rule #5: Never read email more than once. Once you read it, decide what needs to be done with it. Delete or Delegate or Do or Defer. (4Ds of GTD).

Rule #6: If your email is still not under control then get some professional help. This problem has been solved and there is no reason for you to suffer further.


For some of you, the above rules may seem very simplistic. You may be thinking, why does someone needs to be told something this obvious. Isn’t this common sense? Yes, all of this common sense but when common sense becomes common practice then there is no need to vocalize these rules. I am coming across many people on a regular basis who still complain about email.

There are bigger problems to be solved in the world and so let’s get the email problem out of the way.

Thanks for reading this post. If you are an emailer and this post helped you then like this post or even better let me know whether you did something different to go from an emailer to a “Solutioner”.

Stay tuned for more on the concept of “Solutioner” .

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