Don’t deal with emails one at a time

Yes, yes, sometimes you have to look at each email and decide what to do. Fine. But you know you often don’t. Look at the last twenty emails that landed in your inbox: a couple might be spam, a few might be useful or important or urgent, but the rest are nothing. So you delete them. I’m just saying deleting them faster.

What I do is option-click on the first email I know I’ll delete, then I keep the option key pressed down and I click on every killable one as I scroll down. Then, wallop, I press delete once and they’re all gone.

This writer has a different approach. I think it’s dangerously close to thermonuclear, but:

Rather than reading every email message and acting on it, select as many emails as possible in a batch and deselect the messages you actually need to do something with. Email clients have different ways of letting you do the mass selection, but Control-A(for Windows) or Command-A (for Macs) will usually do the trick; here’s a list of keyboard shortcuts for Gmail, Outlook, and Mail for Macs. Depending on your email client, you’re going to either be able to select as many as you can get on a screen or some other setting like 25, 50, or 100, as is the case with Gmail. Most of the time, scanning the sender and the subject will give you enough information to know whether the message actually requires your attention.

Use Batch Actions to Get Through Your Email Faster – Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing (2 September 2014)

It’s just the reverse of what I do: Gilkey gets ready to nuke everything and then gives a few emails a reprieve. Read the full feature for why and a bit more about how.

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