Saturday, 26 February 2011

Wrestling with Email

I get lots of them, so do you.  I get far more at home than I do at work, because I own or moderate about 20 Yahoogroups, and am a member of 20 more.  Plus all my LinkedIn stuff goes to my home email.  So how do I deal with them?

To start off, I use a thing called Tonsho to virtually eliminate spam. New senders are challenged which means that if there isn't a human sending it, it doesn't come near me. And the other good thing is that it's free (they make their money out of charging to send ginormous emails). 

Then I have rules set up to sort email into appropriate folders. If the subject is Project X, it automatically goes into the Project X folder - where I can get to it right after I finish Projects A to W <g>. Outlook automatically shows me how many unread messages I have in the Project X folder. At home my [Live-In-France] folder contains all the emails for that particular Yahoogroup - this lets me prioritise.  

Read and decide what to do with the Inbox - skim through it with your finger on the delete button.  If it needs a quick reply, then reply.  If it needs further thought, tag it and add a date for further action.  If it's something I am likely to want to keep, I move it to an appropriate folder (Useful Technical Stuff, maybe) 

I found this post Email Etiquette for the Super Busy by Jocelyn K Glei with some good advice:

Never send an angry or contentious email.  Put a five minute delay on your outgoing mail by setting up a rule in Outlook.  That gives you a chance for second thoughts - five minutes delay won't hurt - although it can seem like a long time when you are waiting for the messages to be sent!  

Be concise.  I don't use my Blackberry for email (I have work email at my office and home email at home, I don't need it in between as well).  But if I did I would be a bit peeved to get three page messages to read on a 5cm screen.  

Include deadlines - if there's a deadline, it's good to know that.  Burying the deadline at the bottom of the message is not as good as putting it at the top.  

Don’t send “Thanks!” emails.  Interesting advice. I usually try to say thank you, for example to people who accept my invites to link in. But Jocelyn argues cogently that I should NOT. That may be a step too far away from the human-human interface for me, but you can always say Thanks in Advance.  

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