When I was working for Atos, the company’s CEO started a zero email initiative. His aim was for the employees not to use email for internal communications. I remembered what I thought about it: “It’s impossible”. Now I believe that he was right. This post explains how I deal with my professional email inbox.

Keep email closed

I don’t keep my email inbox open during the working hours. I open it just when I have to. I also disabled the email notification in my cellphone. That prevents me from check email whatever I see that a new email arrived.

Schedule time to check email

I check my email twice a day, at 10:00 am and 04:00 pm. I have reminders in my calendar . That helps me organize my day and prevents me from being fooled by my weak memory.

Time box email time

As an adopter of the Pomodoro Technique I keep track of the time I spend with email. What I noticed is that I need almost two pomodoros to read/respond/forward/archive my emails. That means that I need almost two hours during my day only to deal with my email inbox. That was so true when I was working for ThoughtWorks. Now that I’m working for DiUS I’m trying not to sign in to so many email lists. My aim is to keep my email time in one pomodoro.

So far, so good

Up until here I’ve described what I have been doing for one year. It’s working fine and I’ve noticed that my productive increased since then. Before I was checking email every time I alternated windows. Now, I can alternate windows without the temptation of checking email. But there is one last step that I wanna try…

Vacation Responder On

From today on I’ll keep my Vacation Responder On in my professional email. This is the message that I will send to those who send me email:

Hi, This is a auto-reply to inform you about my email policy:

  • I keep my email inbox closed during the working hours;
  • I also disabled email notifications in my cellphone;
  • I check email only at 10:00 am and 04:00 pm. If you need to contact me before my email times, feel free to reach me by phone: XXXX XXX XXX. If you prefer you can use Whatsapp or Viber with this number as well.

I wanted to try it for a long time, but never had courage to actually turn it on. I’ll use it for some time, and depending on the feedback I will keep it or not. Who knows, maybe it can became a new post.


This is not my idea, I read about it at Vida Organizada (pt_br only).