Ask the Admin: Managing E-mail for the Boss

By | Jun 9, 2010

This question came from Jody:

Did you get any feedback on how assistants typically work with their boss’ email?

My boss has never had anyone help him with his vast quantities of email and I am wondering where to look for best practices.

I did not get any comments on the post I previously wrote about managing the boss’s e-mail, but I did go out and find some discussions I had previously seen on other sites.

There were two discussions on Office Arrow, both with some good tips:

Patricia on Laughing All The Way To Work also had a good post on this topic that you may find helpful:

My best advice on managing someone else’s inbox, is to design your procedures in conjunction with the owner of the inbox you are managing.  Different people do better with different organizational structures.  Talk to your boss about what he wants you to handle.  If he doesn’t know, make suggestions based on your own experience.  Start there, and review the procedure with him frequently in the early days to get feedback on what is working and what isn’t.  Change your procedures over time based on that feedback.  The important thing is to take the initiative of getting the conversation started and finding something that works.

Does anyone else have any suggestions to help Jody manage her boss’s e-mail?  Leave a comment and help out.  Note: if you are reading this in a blog reader or by e-mail, you’ll need to click through on the title to leave a comment on the blog web page.

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2 Comments so far
  1. Jamie (1 comments) August 22, 2010 8:06 am

    I had a difficult time in the beginning trying to figure out how to manage my supervisor’s email account as well. It is more of a general department account, but here is what I did…To cut down on the massive amount of emails in the inbox, I created folders under the documents file. There is a main folder with the department name, and then under that are subfolders. In the main folder, I file general messages or information for the department. The subfolders range from contacts, important information, events and activites, etc. You could creat subfolders that go along with any type of email that comes into your account. This way, if my supervisor needs to look something up or go through messages, they are all organized by topic instead of just scattered in one main inbox.

    Another thing that has helped my department is this…A lot of times, we get emails and information pertaining to events that will occur each year. So instead of saving and keeping these in the email account, I save them to a shared file on my laptop. This way, when it comes time to plan the event again the following year, we still have the contacts and procedural information that was in the email account. It is just filed away on the desktop.

  2. Jodith (182 comments) August 23, 2010 8:01 am

    Thanks for the tips, Jamie.

    I agree. I like the folder system, and it’s what I generally use to organize the boss’s e-mail. Great tip for keeping recurring event related e-mails handy. It’s great if you talked about an idea the previous year but didn’t implement. You’ve got all of your brainstorming handy and easy to find for the next year.

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