E-mail, a wonderful communication tool is also the greatest
challenge to manage. Hundreds of mails pouring in from friends,
forums, business associates, customers and subscribed newsletters
and spam mail with enticing subject headers.
Just imagine reading even 50 mails a day. It would take two
and half hours even if you just spend 3 minutes on an average
per mail. Replying to five to six important mails a day would
take another hour at 10 minutes a mail.
Spending up to 4 hours a day on mails may leave you with little
time to do more important work. So how do you manage the
clutter of mails?
Creating mail folders
The first thing on setting up a new mail account is to create
folders for storing important mails. You can create folders
such as personal mails, business mails, priority response,
newsletters etc. This will help you sort the important, urgent
and casual mails and prioritize your email activities.
Spam and bulk mails
Most mail programs have very strong spam filters and they are
improving by the day. This automatically filters your mail to
bulk folders based on key words and whether the mail address is
in your address book among various other criteria. As a rule
never read any bulk mail however enticing the subject heading
may be. Just scan the headings to check whether any recognizable
mail has been sent to the bulk mail folder and delete the rest
ruthlessly. If you get into even opening a few mails your
mail time management takes a toss for the worst.
Set up temporary mail boxes
Many users have temporary needs for receiving huge amount of
mails. This could be due to inviting applications for a
position, submitting to search engines and running a promo,
ad campaign or site submissions to search engines etc. Set up
a temporary mail address and delete the mailbox once the purpose
is achieved. Most mail services now offer this service as
Forgetting the login and passwords are a major time waster for
all mail users. Keep a separate folder for passwords and site
sign ups so that you need not request the passwords every time
you need to login to a site.
Don't open your emails too frequently or use it as a time filler. There is phenomenon called entrainment, which to explain in simple terms is a feeling of speed and fast paced action provided by emails and net surfing and is a major source of addiction. This also gives you a feeling of having done a lot of work. Have a predefined time schedule for checking and replying to mails.
When you feel a service or newsletter is no longer required simply
unsubscribe. You may subscribe again when the need is felt.
Finally, email is a very valuable tool. Not managed well you could have thousands of mails sitting in your mail box creating huge confusion and loss of valuable time. How well you manage it will decide how effective you will be in your communication and productivity.
R.G. Srinivasan is is a certified trainer and a management consultant. Check out his webpages at http://www.home-businessresources.blogspot.com