Email Strategies: Ideas for Keeping Up
- Delete, delete, delete.
- Limit the time you spend on email to specific times such as:
- First thing in the morning for critical mail, such as a change in appointment. Limit to 5 minutes.
- Before lunch — only for urgent.
- Late in the day, especially for personal or low priority mail (when your low energy may match!).
- Turn off the email notification dinger* so you are not distracted every time something shows up. Deal with the mail in batches at limited times.
- In Outlook: Tools>Options>Email Options>Advanced Email Options
- Consider setting up separate mailboxes (different addresses) for Business, Personal and Impersonal mail (such as receipts & newsletters) so you’re not distracted all day. Setting up Rules
- Decide NOW what to do with each email. Clutter is postponed decisions! There are only three things you can do with it FAST: File Act Schedule or Toss
- 2-Minute Rule: if it takes two minutes or less, just do it! If it will take longer, just flag it to work on during a scheduled time.
- Delegate what you can. Forward the message to the ''delegatee,'' and copy yourself if you need to follow up on it, and put it in your ''Pending or ''Waiting For'' file to check on, and/or make a note on your calendar.
- If you must keep it, create folders for each topic, group, or person you get email from that must be kept.
- Helpful folder topics may be:
- Pending or Waiting for
- Committees (specific folder for each)
- People (For each: John, Kate, etc.)
- Projects (separate one for each)
- Almost Finished—this is a great one for things like meeting info, directions, etc. Then just empty it when you are finished.
- Put brief replies in the subject line, so recipient doesn’t need to open it. (Example: Subject: Meeting confirmed at 3 pm.); ''Sign'' with your initials.
- Unsubscribe to everything that is not meaningful to you, but only to lists you originally subscribed to. Others could be verifying live addresses for more spam.
- Put unwelcome messages on the ''junk email list'' or blacklist before you delete them. Check junk mail & spam folders daily.
- When weeding out email overload, sort by clicking on the ''From'' column to see all items from a particular sender, can make the process much faster and easier.
- Why is there still email in the Inbox, which should be only for UNREAD messages, not a place for things to live? Remember: Clutter is Postponed Decisions! File, Act, Schedule, or Toss/Delete!
- Clear the Inbox completely at least once a week (Friday afternoon?) for a thrill and fresh energy!
Beware the Email Monster! Don’t let it devour the heart of your day!
Nancy Hagan is owner of Effective Executive. Nancy coaches people and companies in ''professional organizing''. She is also an organizing consultant, workshop leader and speaker. Nancy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting her web site.
Here’s Wishing You Terrific Hunting,
About the Author
Bill Gaffney has had 17 years of experience as an executive recruiter and a career coach. He can be reached at 937-567-5267 or email@example.com.