Did you know that on average we spend about 28% of our workweek processing email? That's more than 16 work weeks a year! We can do better than that. So, here’s a Jedi email trick for mastering the cc line that will cut your email time in half. (McKinsey Global Institute)
It Begins with a simple question...Does your carbon copy care?
A few years ago I was drowning in an email inbox that averaged two hundred messages a day. I quickly realized that the 80/20 rule applied. I decided to tweak my workflow to minimize the amount of email I worked with, how I viewed it, and when I viewed it. I continue to tweak and perfect how I put the judo chop to my inbox. Here's how you can master the CC line and become an email pro...
[private]Consider It: People often unintentionally abuse the carbon copy line. When you send an email, carefully consider who really needs to be on the email. Be intentional about this. "To" is the person who the email is addressed to and should be taking action regarding the email. The Carbon Copy line is to inform others of the email and the action that should be taken by the "To" person. If a response is expected from that person then they should be in the “to” line instead. Also, be cautious of “reply all”as it’s another email trap.
Filter It: Create a filter or rule that automatically moves messages that you’re CC’d on to another folder for later review. If your inbox is like mine, it can be difficult to know what deserves your attention and what doesn't. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re on the CC line of an email then it may require your review, but not your response. This is especially true if people follow the advice from above. Emails that don’t require a response can easily be reviewed at a later time. Your inbox is now clean and clear.
Mark It: In order to avoid the temptation to constantly check email, I use an email rule to automatically mark an email as read if I’m CC’d. This entire process means that any email that I am on the CC line automatically goes to a separate folder and is marked as read. This helps remove distractions and maintain focus on the emails that actually require my response. A regularly scheduled time throughout the week, allows me to review and keep up with my CC mail.
Most email clients have a filter or rule capability that will allow you to enable this process with a few clicks. I use gmail and have outlined the exact steps below.
Steps for Gmail:
- Make sure your cursor is in the search box
- Click on the “More” tab
- Select “Create Filter”
- In the “Has The Words” field put in parenthesis “cc: and your email” (example: “cc: Jeremy@NotMyEmail.com”)
- Click “Create filter with this search”
- On the filter page I select “Mark as read” and “Apply the label” then I select the label (box) I want to filter these messages to. In my case I created a label called CC.
- Last, select “Also apply filter to matching conversations” then click “Create filter”
This trick has been a huge help in keeping me productive and my inbox lean. Let me know how it works for you. Please comment below on this email trick and any other tricks that you use. Also remember to check back often for additional posts on more of my Jedi tricks for email.