High volumes of e-mail can be overwhelming. In the course of managing a long project a project manager can receive thousands of e-mails. To manage this level of e-mails we need some rules.
If you have time, there is a great video on this subject by Merlin Mann entitled "Inbox Zero". I have created a link to Merlin's video at the end of this posting.
E-mail rules for Project Managers
1) Ensure your inbox messages are viewable in one screen. This means you should not have to scroll your Inbox window to see all your messages. To clean up your current inbox you may need a few hours (or a few days if you have thousands of e-mails in your inbox), but the effort is worth it in the long run.
2) Scrub your e-mail inbox using some of the same rules that exist for cleaning up the paper on your desk. These rules are simple: Act on It, File It, or Throw it Away.
a.) Act on it - Act on the individual e-mail now or if there is not time then schedule the time on your calendar to review it later. Also, you can create a “Pending” folder for e-mails you can’t act on because you are waiting on more information. Schedule time regularly to review your "Pending" e-mail folder. Lastly, delegate the message and ensure you set a date to follow-up
b.) File It - Decide if you need to keep it. If so, ensure you have setup a logical e-mail folder structure so you can find your e-mails quickly in the future
c.) Throw It Away – If the e-mail is not needed then hit “Delete”. The "delete" key can be very liberating
3.) Decide on a schedule to check your e-mail and stick to it (twice a day, every three hours, etc.). Be willing to adjust the schedule as you find what works for you. Don’t be one of those dorks that checks their e-mail device every time it vibrates. You probably aren't that important and neither is the e-mail you might be receiving
4.) For all important communications call the person(s), don’t send an e-mail.
5.) Don’t reply to the same e-mail more than twice. Pick up the phone or go talk to person face-to-face
6.) Setup time on your calendar each week to manage your e-mail
Finally, check out Merlin Mann's great video about managing your e-mail entitled "Inbox Zero" by clicking here