6 CEO-Approved Email Habits You Should Adopt

Lately, I’ve become overwhelmed with emails. As I was searching for ways to better manage handling my inbox, I came across a Business Insider article that discusses the email habits of incredibly successful CEOs. Top executives like Apple’s Tim Cook receive 700-plus emails per day. So how do they deal with an always full inbox? Here are six CEO-approved email habits you should adopt.

  1. Delegate the response. If you have the means, forward your emails to someone else to handle them for you. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos forwards emails with just one character, “?” The person who receives it knows to react to the email immediately. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has a full-time team of four people who answer his emails. Each person’s official title is email ninja.
  2. Send less email. The CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner, believes that if you want less email, you should send less email. Only write an email when it’s absolutely necessary.
  3. Ask for a response deadline. The co-founder of Birchbox, Katia Beauchamp, asks everyone on her team to send emails that have a response deadline. This helps her prioritize responses.
  4. Wake up early. Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m. to answer emails. Hint Water’s founder, Kara Goldin, also rises early—at 5:30 a.m.—to tackle her inbox.
  5. Respond quickly and immediately. Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, immediately replies to every email with a few quick words. Something as simple as “got it” will suffice.
  6. Declare inbox bankruptcy. When Hootsuite’s founder Ryan Holmes is overwhelmed with unanswered emails, he deletes them all, declaring inbox bankruptcy. Then he starts with a clean slate, adding a disclaimer message to the end of emails. "Sorry if I didn't get back to your last email. To become a better communicator in 2015, I've recently declared email bankruptcy," he advises.

To learn how to write better emails, read Email Persuasion by Ian Brodie.

How do you manage your inbox?