How to process blog-related email Getting Things Done-style

When we launched The Next Web on January 7 this year, we got TechCrunched right-a-way. That not only caused a lot of traffic, it also made my mailbox flood. I remember it seemed like every start-up mailed me a PR request that night. Still every day, I find an amount of new emails I would have never thought to receive on a daily basis. I had to find a way to deal with all these electronic letters, so I turned myself to David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

He gives some good tips about handling email, some of which you can read on 43Folders. Yet when you’re a blogger, checking your mail is a slightly different story. So I started thinking about a good way to process my mail, and this is what I came up with.

Every time I open a blog-related email I ask myself – like Allen commanded – ‘Can I do this in 2 minutes?’. If so, I do it immediately. If not, I give it one of the following labels:

  • @AUTHORS – If somebody asks me whether he can write a guest post for one of my blogs, or if I have to add somebody to the WebTipr page on The Next Web, I put it in this folder for daily review.
  • @INTERVIEW – When I have to return an email with some questions about a service or site, I file it under this label. As soon as I have the time to test the service and make up questions, I check this folder.
  • @NEWS? – When a start-ups mails me with a PR request and I’m not sure whether it’s really that interesting or not, the message goes in here. Whenever I face a writer’s block, I check this folder for inspiration.
  • @WEEKLY – I’m lucky enough to know a few people who share interesting articles about blogging with me. I put these in my weekly folder, and read the articles on Saturday in my favorite coffee hotspot.
  • @WRITE! – The emails that go in this folder are seriously interesting. As soon as I’ve emptied my mail box, I start writing about them.

I figured sharing this label system with you, since when I was reading GTD I was thinking ‘But I’m a blogger!’ all the time. Hope you’ve found it useful.

Author: Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is mede-oprichter en uitgever van De Correspondent. Hij is geobsedeerd door innovatie in media en journalistiek. Daar schrijft hij elke zaterdagmorgen een nieuwsbrief over, waar ruim 2.400 vakgenoten op geabonneerd zijn.

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