BLUF: How do you fulfill a role as a team facilitator using the email guidance when much of that communication happens over email? How do you keep track of "todos" when the lack of response from others is the action you need to take?

I have been listening to manager tools for less than a year. I have been slowly going back and catching up on previous podcasts. I listened to the more recent email podcast I have listened to and 2 and (While getting these links I found which I have not listened to, but I will. I'm not sure it applies.) 

I would love to do this. I'm an email addict. I get obsessive about it. I started a new job 3 weeks ago and I figured this would be the perfect time to start this new technique. Then the doubt started setting in. I don't think I'm so important or that the world will fall apart but I don't want to risk being seen as less effective than I could be. This job is contract to hire (a first for me). I've never held this particular role before (although I've done the pieces of it as backup for others and I get the grounding principles.) I'm a Scrum Master/Agile Coach. My job is to be there to solve problems for my team to help them be as effective as possible. I really love this job, this company, these people. This quad-fecta has got me all anxious about the email thing. 

My teams use email as a group notification/information sharing mechanism throughout the day. This is especially true right now as we approach a huge release. I need to follow up on emails to the group that aren't picked up. I need to follow up on bugs that are critical to make sure they get resolved in time for the next QA build. I need to respond to emails that don't happen. I'm sure there's more, but it's only week 3. 

Part of my mind is saying I'm in meetings 1/2 of every day anyway so no one would notice. The irrational part is not listening. 

Has anyone else held a role like this and held to the email guidance? 

Any guidance would be much appreciated.


pucciot's picture
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After reading -"Getting things done" and listening to the Career Tools Podcasts it finally dawned on me that there are two separate things here.

Checking and sorting email is one thing.

Working on those tasks related to the emails are another thing.

If an email cannot be answered in a minute or quick response - you would no longer be "doing email". You are doing that task.

When you do you email 3x a day you should be sorting, deleting, and informing yourself, etc.

If the email is about somthing else you must do, then you should put it on your ToDo list, your calendar, or drag that email onto your Microsoft Outlook Task List.
And then do that task later - once you have completed the Task of "going through email".

Sure it is an old habit that even I have lots of trouble breaking still. But, I do realize when I am doing it as a choice.

Example: If an email from a peer says to please call him to talk about numbers... then you have to make a choice .. do you schedule yourself to make that call in 20 mim OR do you stop going through your email and make that call now ?

If you call him now, then you must admit to yourself that you have stopped "checking your email" and have started doing another task.

I hope this perspective helps.


jtegwen's picture

Thank you for your detailed response. The struggle I'm having (now) isn't performing deliverables while doing email. It's been dealing with emails where the "deliverable" is following up when someone else doesn't take action on an email. My struggle was that it was a non-event triggering action. 

jtegwen's picture

I don't think I phrased the question right because I didn't get the answer I was looking for. Then the Manager Tools newsletter came out. (#23 and I got the words I was looking for: followup tasks.

I needed a way to deal with followup tasks. I was using tasks, which works ok. The newsletter suggested: "Use a follow up folder make sure a response comes back if you need one.  Don’t leave the email in your inbox.  Put it in a follow up folder, and then make looking at that folder once a day part of your routine. " 

I'm going to try this out. 

AllBusiness's picture

Thanks for the tips on using "followups" folder.