10 Ways to Be a Better Independent Developer
Email is a very valuable communication tool, but it is also an incredible distraction. Many people talk about how to manage incoming email with methodologies like Inbox Zero. These are extremely important techniques, but I have been most successful at reducing the amount of email that I even get. This allows me to be extra responsive to my clients and my customer support requests, while not being constantly bombarded by unnecessary distractions.
I did three major things to reduce the email I receive: 1. I began by unsubscribing from virtually all email lists. When I want news about something, a coupon, or information about a product, I will go search it out. I don’t need it coming into my inbox.
2. I then turned off almost all app email notifications. I don’t need emails from Facebook or Twitter, my apps will alert me to those anything I need to know through push notifications.
3. Finally, I use email aliases for virtually everything. I run my own email server so this is easier for me but it is still possible with gmail and most other email services. I have a few core accounts like “financial”, “accounts”, and “client-name”. I then append a suffix on that for each place I give out my email. For example, if I needed to sign up for an account at Initrode, I would use firstname.lastname@example.org. Most email services allow you to use a plus sign to ignore everything after and including it. I can put anything after the plus sign and they will all go to email@example.com which then forwards to my personal email. This allows me to easily blacklist an entire address if a site is compromised and that email gets out. This way, I get virtually no spam and I can also easily filter my email.