April’s Executive Community Slideshow: It’s spring cleaning, so how do you manage your email inbox?

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Welcome to ITWC’s April 2018 community slideshow! Every month we ask leaders in the Canadian technology industry about a general life topic as a fun way to know the community a little better. With spring (sort of) here, we decided to have a question that had a spring cleaning theme to it, so we decided to ask – how many emails do you have in your inbox? And what’s your approach to email management – delete it or store it?

Xerxes Cooper, general manager for IBM Canada’s Global Technology Services

Inbox message count: 200

When it comes to work clutter, spring does bring the connotation of a “fresh start” I typically feel with the changing of the seasons. Right now, my email inbox has just over 200 emails in it, although none of them are unread. If I had been asked this question a year or two ago, however, my answer would have been very different. Over the last year, I have actually started to move away from email to mobile apps for my phone, plus other more collaborative, real-time messaging systems like Slack, which have really reduced the email backlog. These tools help me stay on top of things without fighting the inbox battle, which I appreciate because, if truth be told, I’m actually not a big fan of spring cleaning!

Ajay Sood, the vice-president and country manager of Symantec Canada

Inbox message count: 1 page worth of emails

I get probably anything from 500 to 1,000 emails a day, so it’s hard to keep it at zero but I have a lot of techniques for dealing with it. I am a one-page type of person, so by the end of the day I should only have one screen of emails. I’m by and large very good, but I do it with the help of a great team who I trust completely. I delegate an awful lot; they help me perform an audit on what I need to address immediately and what I don’t need to address personally. That said, I’m not talking about blind deletion of email. If someone respects me enough to send me an email, I should show some respect and respond to that email, or message on LinkedIn, Twitter, all of that. I respond to everything, sometimes not in a timely fashion, but I’ll respond.

Stephanie Carullo, COO for Box

Inbox message count: Bursting at the seams

My inbox is usually bursting at the seams! I am super organized and love to get stuff done, so I find that flipping through my inbox and marking the most important emails first every morning helps focus my attention on the critical items. Being decisive with emails and taking action immediately keeps my inbox manageable and clutter-free. Also, I am known to have multiple tabs open in my browser as I typically juggle a number of tasks at once. My strategy is to triage the important tasks and then work through in priority order.

Shawn Malhotra, vice-president, Toronto Technology Centre at Thomson Reuters

Unread messages: Zero

Believe it or not, I have no unread messages in my inbox. We have a creative and collaborative culture at the Thomson Reuters Technology Centre and that requires staying connected to the team. It also means being focused and present during every interaction with my teammates. I find I’m most present when I know what’s in front of me and I’m on top of it. This isn’t always an easy task. When faced with email overload, prioritizing and managing your time efficiently is imperative, and sometimes that means responding to leftover emails at the end of the day.

Barbara Spicek, Vice President, Worldwide Channels and Alliances, Veritas Technologies

Inbox message count: 50-100

I receive anywhere from 50 to 100 emails a day. Being German, I have the tendency to be very organized with my emails and am detailed, in terms of folder management of my Outlook In-Box. To keep my email organized, I “spring clean” all year-long and keep a very structured set of Outlook folders that I use to save important emails, so that I can easily access them.

Luc Villeneuve, country leader, general manager, Red Hat Canada

Inbox message count: 300 per day, 8-10,000 saved

I can’t live without emails. I get 300 on an average every day. I try to respond within 24 hours, which for the most part I’m able to respect if the email is addressed to me. If I’m copied, I only respond if I can add value. When I travel or have all-day meetings, emails accumulate very quickly, not allowing me enough time to respond within 24 hours. Emails older than a week have a 99 per cent chance of getting read. I don’t have a good filling tool and I’m open to learn more. I have 8-10 thousand emails saved in my inbox. No specific reason why I keep so many. The search feature is pretty good, which I use to track older mail.

Zvon Petric, president of AtYourServer

Inbox message count: 5

At this exact moment, I have five emails in my inbox. If I have to scroll down my inbox I get anxiety. You have to constantly keep it clean, which you never really have enough time to do.

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Alex Coop
Alex Coophttp://www.itwc.ca
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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