Getting Your Email to Behave


“The Grindstone” is a series about how we work today by long-time Billfold writers Leda Marritz and Stephanie Stern. Looking for advice? Want to see a specific issue covered in the future? You can email them here.

Steph Stern works in energy and environmental policy in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes about careers and life choices at Small Answers (or follow on Twitter: @smallanswers).


10 Comments / Post A Comment

I hate pointing out typos, but I love the idea of archieving emails, like archiving emails is an achievement all its own, which it totally is.

stephstern (#4,149)

@forget it i quit thanks for catching that!

BananaPeel (#1,555)

This is adorable! And I was just thinking about how other peoples’ productivity systems (or lack thereof) work for them but might drive another person up the wall. It genuinely makes my dad angry that my mom has 20,000 unread emails in her inbox but it doesn’t bother her at all! I thought having that many unread emails might be a parent thing, but a friend of mine in her 20s has about that many, too.

sayevet (#6,237)

@BananaPeel I have a friend with several thousand unread emails. The only thing I find upsetting is that she believes that one day she will get through them all. I think it would be more realistic to mark all as read and then start with new emails and see if you can actually keep up. How do you help someone who cannot help themselves? :(

rhinoceranita (#5,858)

I feel really grateful that my company is on the Gmail system. Syncing seems to be seamless between my phone, all of its emails, and calendars.

I HATED outlook with a passion.

potatopotato (#5,255)

@rhinoceranita: YASSSSS, Outlook blows. But the new Gmail thing that throws crap emails and solicitations into other inboxes is brilliant, and the only reason my personal email is remotely caught-up.

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

David Allen’s Getting Things Done, yo. It is a lifesaver and an inbox saver. (I’ve been doing the GTD system for… nearly seven years now? Good gravy. But I have gotten a lot of things done!)

This is your secret, isn’t it?!

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

@Meaghan O’Connell It’s no secret, the book’s been around since 2002! (also yes.)

squashblossom (#6,560)

I only recently found that there are people who are doing a decent job of staying on top of their email – my coworker. I strive to learn from him but don’t want to show my soft underbelly of disorganization! Hence, I sneakily monitor his habits and maintain the illusion of freestanding, self-sufficient adult worker.

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