Escaping The Email Inbox Vortex


By: Jennifer Glatz

February 19, 2019


Dear Project Leaders,

Are you trapped in the email inbox vortex?

Is your work week productivity inhibited by hours of email management or lack thereof?

Does the thought of an unmanaged project change or risk being lost in your turbulent inbox keep you up at night?

Here are a few tips to help you swim to the edge.

Tip #1: Take a look at your inbox and take note of how many emails are FYI only.

It is common for the majority of emails sent to be related to information sharing or notifications, without a specific action requested.

Consider reviewing your current Information Management practices on your project and invest the time in implementing a more efficient method or platform to eliminate information sharing via email. 

Tip # 2: Review the number of emails you receive seeking clarification from your team members.

If you are co-located, try a direct conversation instead of replying.

If you are a virtual team, try connecting by phone or using Instant Messaging platforms.

As the Project Manager, actively influence your team culture to reduce email overload by using more direct communication.

Tip #3: Let’s assume someone has taken the initiative to see you in person or call you about a specific topic.

If you are unavailable, the next common course of action is for the person to send you an email for follow up.

If you are frequently unavailable due to meetings, consider setting published “office hours” for when you are available or booking one-on-ones with your team members to allow yourself to be more accessible.

If the team can access you more directly for a conversation, you’ll soon notice a drop in follow up emails. 

You may have noticed that these tips have one thing in common: it’s all about enhancing your team collaboration.

The inbox vortex is one symptom of a larger systemic issue, similar to a calendar full of meetings and the exhaustion from information chasing on project status.

Implementing collaborative tools and techniques such as Agile Framework, Lean Transformation, and Collaborative Pull Planning boosts productivity and team effectiveness and can help settle your project back into streamline flow.

To Your Project Success!


PS – If you’re looking for more project management productivity tips, join us in the Project Leader Community on Facebook.