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Managing the morning's emails: a practical example

This is an example of how I would deal with emails to ensure maximum efficiency, writes Fionnuala O'Donnell

I open my email; the first message is from a locum GP looking for sessions, including their attached CV.

What is the next physical action to take? I need to forward the CV to the GP partners to see if they are happy to use this locum and will then file the message with CV in my ‘locums’ folder until the partners come back with an answer. This is for me to do (rather than delegate) and will take less than two minutes so I decide to do it now. I delete the email once it I’ve filed the CV because my NHS mail has an annoyingly low mailbox capacity and I have the locum’s contact details in the CV.

The next email is a request to attend a forum on patient engagement, something in which I’m interested but which clashes with our weekly staff meeting and is in the middle of the day. I decide not to go, but think the details in the email might come in handy for future reference so I file in archive where it can be retrieved if needed.

The third email is from a rep confirming a lunch meeting the following week; I have this in my diary so I file the email in my archive, just in case I need her details again.

After this, comees a message from an alumni association, I file this in ‘follow up’ as something to read on my lunchbreak. This is something that you could filter out of your inbox, so that it automatically goes in the ‘to read’ folder that you look at when you have time.

The next item is about the new incentive scheme from the CCG. This is important and will take a lot of time to digest and implement, so I look at the calendar and diarise some time to go over it in detail and file in ‘follow up’. The temptation to open this and skim through it to see what it contains is strong but I only have 20 mins to clear my inbox so I force myself to file it for the future, knowing I have scheduled time in my calendar to go over it in detail.

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