The Referral: The book that will help you (finally) clear your inbox

Mara Nickerson

Recommended by: Mara Nickerson, Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP

The backstory: “These days, one of the biggest challenges lawyers face is the avalanche of emails going back and forth,” says Mara Nickerson, a lawyer and the chief knowledge officer at Osler. “It consumes your day.” The facts bear this out: business email users process more than 120 emails every day. But since Nickerson didn’t study email management in law school, she turned to a new book, The Email Warrior, for help.

Making the case: Nickerson heard about the book because she knows the author, Ann Gomez, the founder of Clear Concept — a company that offers workshops to make busy professionals more productive. Nickerson latched onto the book’s practical tips. One of her favourites is the well-known one-touch principle, which has just one rule: act on emails the first time you read them, in order to keep your inbox empty. That might mean sending a quick reply, adding a task to your to-do list or delegating the email to the right person. “It’s so easy to put off emails until later,” says Nickerson. “The one-touch principle forces you to deal with them.”
But keep in mind: this works best if you turn off email notifications and tackle your inbox at set times throughout the workday.

Bonus points: It may be a book about email, but it’s truly a good read. “It’s a breeze and it’s very readable,” she says. “I read the whole thing over a couple of subway rides.”

Where to find it: You can order the book online at

How much you’ll pay: $24.95.

Precedent Summer 2017 IssueThis story is from our Summer 2017 issue.




Illustration by Alina Skyson