Zen StonesThe Zen Habits blog had an interesting post on it the other day about Haiku Productivity.

Haiku Productivity is a method used by poets which forces the poet to focus on only those words that mean the most to the poem, rather than getting lost within the structure and any extraneous language. It’s really all about setting limits on everything

Actually the whole post is a little long-winded but I did find 2 top tips towards the end of it around emails.

The first one is for checking emails:

2. times to process email: If I only allow myself to check email twice a day, I cannot let email control my life. It makes me much more efficient. When I process email, I process to empty. Now, there are other times during the day when I have to send email, such as emailing a post to one of my editors. At that time, I might respond quickly to one or two emails, but I don’t process my email during that time.

With being in and out of the office so much recently I’d already adopted this tip without realising it, and it’s been very effective. If something is really important the person will call you in person.

Secondly when you do find an email that you need to respond to:

5 sentence emails: I got this idea from Mike Davidson, whose article came at a perfect time as I was limiting other things in my life, and was also trying to keep my emails short at that time. His 5-sentence rule (no email can be longer than 5 sentences) fit in perfectly with everything else I tried to do, and I’ve adopted it. It forces you to write only what’s essential. I broke the rule at first, but I’ve been pretty good lately. This rule also limits the amount of time you spend replying to email, and makes processing a breeze.

Great stuff. You might say poetry in motion, ahem. (sorry).