I just read Seth Godin's post entitled Email Checklist - "Before you hit send on that next email, perhaps you should run down this list...." It's a classic and got me thinking about my love-hate relationship with email.
Most days I am so done with email! Is an empty Inbox a real possibility in this lifetime? Seriously, how many hours a day are you spending on email - reading, sorting, deleting and responding? Is email making your life more or less stressful? Is it really more efficient then picking up the phone and talking to the other party?
Personally, I find that we have become too dependent on email as the primary communication method in the workplace. Often, email can be misinterpreted, overlooked, scanned and not fully read and understood. What started out as a quicker and more efficient method of communicating has become more of a burden and overwhelming.
Ways I attempt to conquer the email madness :
- I am selectively unsubscribing to all those lists, retailers and newsletters I signed up for and thought it would be great to receive. I realized if I want to find out what's on sale at West Elm, I can just go online or stop by the store if and when I have the need.
- The subject line and who the email is from determines how quickly I hit the delete key.
- I have category folders set up in Outlook to sort and save emails I don't want to delete . I also have a "01-Waiting for Response" and "02-To Do" folder which are immediately after the Inbox (using the number sequence).
- I strive to review my emails and immediately delete, respond or sort the email accordingly at prescribed times throughout the day. Definitely, first thing in the morning and end of the day. I do my best to not be distracted and constantly check new emails as they arrive.
Some other notable email management resources to check out: