10 tips to read 500 emails per day

I recently had a quick formation with Benoît Charles-Lavauzelle our CEO at Theodo. He taught me how to be efficient at reading emails. Here are his advices:

  • don’t sort emails. Use the search.
  • don’t use multiple labels. One label is enough: urgent or not.
  • for each mail, there is two options: answer or decide not to answer. Necessarily, if you are to answer, this mail is important. Answer it quickly. Star each mail you have an action to do.
  • monitor your answering lead time. You must not have email older than 72 hours in your inbox.
  • start with older emails. It helps for the previous point.
  • don’t use your mouse, use keyboard shortcuts instead. You must be able to: archive, answer, tag and go to next email without your mouse.
  • use boomerang (or google inbox’s snooze, or follow-up then) for each of your answers that contains a question mark. It’s the key of the follow up.
  • don’t use tasks. Your todo list is your inbox. The inbox is your unique entry point.
  • planify time for reading email and answering the starred ones. 3 times a day is fine.
  • if it takes less than 2 minutes to answer: do it immediately.

This list isn’t exhaustive. Share your own advice in the comments!


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  • Rodolphe Darves Bornoz

    Emails are also great opportunities to Andon: your problem is clearly set (it took me more than 2mn/72 hours to answer this email), you can easily give context to your coach so he/she will be able to bring value to you immediately