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Email use in General Practice

Does sorting out your email just suck all your time away? Andy and Gandhi talk in this episode about the frustrations managing your email can bring, the challenges we have in primary care and importantly – solutions to bring you control and increase your spare time. 

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Despite being so ubiquitous and groundbreaking in its time, this is a medium that is almost universally loathed…

Today we’re talking about email…

We have a complex love-hate relationship with email… Mostly we hate it…

As a clinician email can be particularly frustrating. We have so many ways to receive information tasks and work. And we spend most of our dealing with patients or tasks directly related to patient care. It can feel like Other people working in primary care have more time allocated for purely administrative activities like reading email… 

It is definitely worth giving how you manage email some thought…

Why is email frustrating?… (Identifying the challenges)

Email overload

Time issue, can take so long, when do I do it?

Email anxiety – what’s in my inbox?…

Discussion vs response – wrong tool?

Etiquette – why am I getting this email? Tone and controversial topics…

Emails at intrusive at times

What are the possible solutions?

Basic Principals… Three Ps

Parkinson’s Law – allocate set, limited time – batching

Pareto Principal – 80/20 – concentrate on where your efforts will have an impact

Pomedoro – 25-minute dashes, 5 minutes break to complete email or tasks

Getting Organised

Inbox Zero & Getting to Done…. 

2 min rule

Scheduling for later

Tag, Folders or archive and search?

Check out Gandhi’s episode on productivity


Should this be an email at all? email / phone / meet

reply all, waiting on replies, cc, bcc

Font and confidentiality

Emojis in professional emails

Use the right address for the right reason – security log in

Add the email address last – just in case

Identify action or information

Use the subject line well… and first 2 lines – Project management style – timelines

Templates and signatures, 

Dealing with volume/overload

Unsubscribe and whitelist vs junk

Do not disturb

Choose your tools wisely? But don’t obsess 

We discuss our current email setups and tips for email platforms and apps

Interface/platform – bluemail 

What do you use?

Gandhi – blue mail and Gmail

Andy – outlook

But my phone is always with me… Do not disturb mode

Switch off the notification?

How to email patients: Email use by practices in General Practice

Email audit

Set aside a time frame to do an email audit – sources, folders, and freq – put it in your calendar!!!

Things to think about as clinicians…

Use the right platform or email address for any clinical or sensitive information.

Secure your device.


People are trying to make email better

Slack, Asana…. Adding project management and team coordination

So how do you feel about email now love or hate? 

Let us know…

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