IT Director of a leading international Publishing Company – one-to-one coaching: the Inbox Audit process

A typical day in the life of John’s inbox

· Over 100 emails a day;

· Two to three days per week out of the office (often without email access);

· Global role means an extended day to incorporate different time zones;

· One day per week working from home;

· Colleagues not necessarily good email citizens.

 What was in the inbox

· Half the email related to current priority project;

· High volume of Cc’d email and network status/security notices;

· General administration circulars;

· External circulars and promotional material.

Why do an inbox audit?

Like many people these days, I don’t have a PA.  I manage all my email.  Although, I consider myself an expert user of IT, I was aware that email was taking up too much of my time.Before my audit, Mesmo sent me its monthly e-briefing with its helpful hints and tips section.  This provided many easy to implement time-saving mechanisms which have helped me use email much more effectively.  However, as a firm believer in the old adage that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’, I felt an objective view of my inbox would reveal if I was doing as well as I thought or what else I could do to maintain and enhance my effective use of email.

 The benefits and key learning points

I now use email differently.  In principle I now only deal with emails directly addressed to me.  I get much less Cc’d mail.  My team know how I like to operate and if they Cc me I know it’s a hidden message saying they want me get involved.

My inbox size and those of my colleagues is generally dropping dramatically.  Email should be concise, polite and to the point.  I’m now a much more considerate and effective email user.  If there’s anything controversial in my email, I tend to sleep on my response and advise my team to act in the same way.

When I’ve been out of the office, I allocate a defined time and deal with my email in one go.  Before I would have gone straight back into fire-fighting mode and had the email backlog hanging over me for days.

I’m training people to use links rather than attachments.  When I’m travelling I have no use for picture attachments or links and as I probably will never go back and look at it again, it’s a waste of the sender’s time too. It got me seriously thinking about email etiquette within the enterprise.  I have done a lot, but to see continued improvements I need to bring my colleagues along with me.

Would you recommend an inbox audit?

Yes, but if you don’t have time for a face to face session, then use Mesmo’s hints and tips as they will take you a long way ahead.