Almost a year ago (wow, times really fly !) I’ve shared with you an email management system I was starting to use. During this year, I’ve shared this system with as many people as possible as I think it is really excellent. I don’t see myself today not using it as it did help me being 10 times more efficient when dealing with the pile of email I receive everyday. Some close colleague were as excited as I was and made a few improvement. In this quick post, I wanted to show you how I was configured and hopefully it will encourage you to start using it !
As a QA director, I focus particularly on the quality of our products of course but it is also true on how I try to manage both my professional and personal life. I’m not particularly interested to do a lot at an average level but rather do maybe less but at an exceptional level. Optimally I’d like to do a lot at an exceptional level but if you want to reach an optimal work-life balance, you will need to compromise.
I ran across this article on lifehacker and got interested by this picture describing some best practices to manage your work day.
I’ve always liked the idea of controlling how often I check my email. Now that I’ve implemented PIFEM (read here), I find it much easier to leave email accumulate for a few hours during each days and manage the reading during time boxed period throughout the day. I’m currently down to 6, 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. I think I can go easily down to 3 ! I write what I need to write at anytime during the day as suggested by the board.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had trouble managing properly the huge amount of email I receive everyday. I’ve tried creating dedicated folders with email to be processed, tried the flag functionality of outlook, colors, priority settings etc. I’ve always managed to be reasonably organized but there was always a part of me which was afraid to miss important email to process. Then I’ve ran across an article from Ian Palangio‘s who runs a blog on productivity. He describes his own system to manage email called PIFEM which make excellent use of favorite folders in Outlook 2007 to manage in a very efficient way emails. With this system, I have a clear view of what email I need to process in my incoming stack, today, tomorrow, next week etc. I’ve been using this system for the past 2 months and I’ve became way more productive with my emails and it really brought me confidence and clarity.
You can find clear direction about PIFEM here.