My executive and I just started working through this ourselves a few months ago. First we cleaned up what was in there (he had well over 15,000+ emails dating back all the way to 2014 sitting in his inbox.
From there we developed parameters regarding emails that could quickly be removed or filed. For example, he get’s cc’d on Docusign emails and daily metric reports that can simply be deleted. Those 50+ newsletter type emails he gets every day go right into a folder for him to read through if and when he has time.
For the rest, we use color coding categories to determine what’s urgent, and what can wait. When he logs into his email, he can sort by these categories and handle the important ones first.
As email chains develop, I do not delete the old ones, but they get removed from the inbox and put in a folder as soon as I see he has read them, and I know there is a more recent response, so that the inbox does not get bogged down. It’s also important to note that depending on your outlook, if you “delete” an email…it will go into your trash instead of his. So I actually drag emails to his trash instead of just clicking delete so that they stay within his mailbox in case he needs them.
I do not personally respond on his behalf, but if there is anything I can take care of for him, I just do it and take it off his plate. For example, if an email mentions needing to set up meetings, I will simply take care of that instead of waiting for him to ask me to do it.
Honestly it’s a lot of trial and error and seeing what works for you guys. And since my executive and myself are still learning, if you learn any other tips or tricks, I’d love to hear about it!
Thanks ~ Jess