How do scholars deal with email?

27 views
Skip to first unread message

Bryan Bishop

unread,
Jul 20, 2010, 2:26:37 PM7/20/10
to the-efficie...@googlegroups.com, Bryan Bishop
Hey all,

I am new on this list, so I hope this question isn't out of line. I have noticed that many professors and scholars that I know are ridiculously busy, sometimes it seems like they are flying two red eyes at once, and talking with a few thousand people by correspondence. So, first, does anyone have some numbers they are willing to share on their communication frequency? How much email, how many different people, rate of growth, things like that. Second, how does it qualitatively feel? Any anecdotes?

About a year ago I realized that I never told my mom about a large portion of my life, and it surprised me that (1) I hadn't told her at all, ever, and (2) that I had not even *known* that I didn't tell her. So I've been working on a system for managing my communication and throughput (I really have a hard time believing in "overload"), if anyone would be interested in hearing about it or if it's relevant to this mailing list.

Anyway, cheers and thanks :-)

- Bryan
http://heybryan.org/
1 512 203 0507

Jeff Horn

unread,
Jul 20, 2010, 7:44:30 PM7/20/10
to the-efficie...@googlegroups.com

Google "Inbox Zero." I suggest archiving all of your mail without organizing. Then empty and organize as needed each day. I delete almost everything that comes in.

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Efficient Academic" group.
To post to this group, send email to the-efficie...@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to the-efficient-aca...@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/the-efficient-academic?hl=en.

jh...@vt.edu

unread,
Jul 20, 2010, 10:05:01 PM7/20/10
to The Efficient Academic
I find inbox zero stresses people out. I focus on ... inbox... only
as i wish. just over 700 thousand unread and not worrying about it.
oh i worry about some things, i have special smart mailboxes for
current collaborators na projects, and all my lists go into their
own... then i just have a few hundred to glance at in a day, those
could all be deleted, but meh... the idea with email is that it is
supposed to make your life easier, not harder. If you just organize
yourself a bit, it works great.

I have 1 big inbox which i archive when it gets above around 30k
emails, each list has its own mailbox, and those never touch my
inbox. I have smart mailboxes for today, yesterday, 3 days, 2 weeks
and 3 months. 1 smart mailboxe for each current collaboration and
project. 1 smart mailbox per publication underway.... 1 smart
mailbox per each graduate student i supervise. Permanent special
email boxes for special people too, so people that need special
treatment ... get special treatment. Each class has its own smart
mailbox too. Most smart mailboxes get deleted after they are done.
Smart mailboxes are just ways of collecting all the various materials
together based on filters and rules, they don't move the email, they
just keep it visible in one place.

Jeff Horn

unread,
Jul 21, 2010, 1:22:34 AM7/21/10
to the-efficie...@googlegroups.com
Of course, mileage varies. But for some, nothing is more soothing than
an empty inbox. For me, it means I've seen everything once, and if
something slips through the cracks, I'm accountable. And, it's a
simple rule. No need for many smart boxes.

Another practice I started earlier than adopting an empty inbox was
putting everything that needed attention in a special folder. For me
now, that's the starred folder in gmail. But just having a "todo"
folder can reign in a lot of e-mail anxiety.

I'd like to emphasize that I don't organize my mail. There's an inbox
for new stuff, a trash folder for things I don't need, a starred
folder for todos, and a google-searchable archive for reference
material. I use tags for project sometimes, but I find they're more
effort than they're worth.

Thanks for the opportunity to share and philosophize!

Jeff

> --
> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Efficient Academic" group.
> To post to this group, send email to the-efficie...@googlegroups.com.
> To unsubscribe from this group, send email to the-efficient-aca...@googlegroups.com.
> For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/the-efficient-academic?hl=en.
>
>

--
Jeffrey Horn
PhD Student in Economics
George Mason University

(704) 271-4797
jh...@gmu.edu
jrho...@gmail.com

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages