In my last years at Apple, if I had no workflow in place, it was not impossible to get over a thousand emails a day. When I would visit people’s offices, I would see two main workflows:
- An inbox with 50,000+ emails in it, mostly unread
- A hundred or more mailboxes, one for each mailing list, also with high unread counts
Sure, there is a ton of garbage emails, such as automated emails or irrelevant mailing lists you can’t subscribe from. But I developed a system that worked for me and I was able to never have an unread message and was able to always find the most important ones.
The very simplest version of it looked like this. For a smaller flow of email, it could work well, but I ended up beefing it up a bit.
The decision process I would go through was this:
- Is the message