Ask Barb: Email and Productivity

Dear Barb:

I feel like email is really negatively impacting my production.  I get over 150 emails a day and that number keeps increasing.  Any hints on how to effectively handle daily emails?

Patrick M., San Jose, CA

Dear Patrick:

Responding to emails the minute they pop up on your computer may have a negative impact on your production and income. Here are a few tips to effectively handle email.


Set specific times to check email. It is not necessary to answer an email the minute you see it appear – unless you’re working a fast-paced, high volume temp desk.  If you assign specific times to respond to your email, you will definitely improve your efficiency.  This will also allow you to stay focused on your current top priority without interruption.


Never touch an email in your Inbox more than once.  You heard me, stop reading the same email over and over and over!  When you click on an email, force yourself to do one of the following:

  1. Delete it immediately
  2. Respond to it
  3. Put it in a folder (more to follow)
  4. Flag it for later action.  If you use MS Outlook you can set the action, time and date of the reminder.  This is still procrastinating, but at least you can track the volume of these follow-ups.
  5. If it is Junk, add it to your blocked email list

One of the greatest time wasters is reading an email over and over again and not taking action.


You can set up rules that allow you to automatically sort your email as it arrives.  This is done based on a set of criteria you establish such as content, the sender’s email address, etc.  You can accomplish this by color-coding the email or by sending it to a particular folder – even the deleted items folder.

Article Continues Below


Set up templates if your email provider offers this feature.  Templates save you an incredible amount of time for the responses you send that require the same or similar information on a regular basis.  You create your message based on your pre-established template and edit as needed.


Realize that your ability to hit the X (delete key) is the best way to eliminate data.  This option does not apply to the email you receive from me!

Barb Bruno CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email