More Advice on Taming the E-mail Beast

Ann All
Slide Show

Top 5 Ways to Improve E-Mail Archiving

Recommind's Craig Carpenter's 5 "must do's" for every e-mail archiving project.

Regular readers of this blog know I have a love/hate relationship with e-mail. I wrote about it earlier this month, citing an Avanade survey that found 62 percent of C-level executives bothered by frequent interruptions caused by irrelevant incoming data. The single largest source of such data was, you guessed it, e-mail. Returning to the office after what was, for me, a long holiday weekend seemed like an appropriate time to write again about e-mail, as my inbox was clogged with messages I spent a little extra time reading, sorting, deleting and responding to this morning.


Knowing of my dislike of e-mail, a colleague had passed along an item from Mitch Joel's Six Pixels of Separation blog, in which he compares his inbox to a "big, never-ending game of Tetris" and offers what I think are some great suggestions for controlling your e-mail so it doesn't control you. Some of them mirror ideas mentioned by Marsha Egan, "Help! I've Fallen into My Inbox and Can't Climb Out! Five Email Self Management Strategies that Will Add Hours to Your Week and Reclaim Your Workplace Email Productivity," when I interviewed her a few years ago.


His suggestions:

  • Turn off all notifications, so you aren't tempted by that little "ding" noise or whatever you use to alert you of incoming messages.
  • Don't "reply all" as it tends to create long and increasingly random strings of comments, many of which you probably don't even need to see. Instead, writes Joel, only respond to the creator of the e-mail. If you are the creator, let recipients know they should respond only to you. (I'd add that sometimes it's important to copy at least a few folks. But I think it makes sense to do so only when necessary and keep the number to a minimum.)
  • If you work and respond to e-mail outside "regular" business hours, let your colleagues, customers and others know they needn't worry about responding to you during those same hours.
  • Just as you create templates for and automate your electronic signature(s), consider doing the same thing if you find yourself making lots of more or less standard responses to certain e-mail inquiries. This is the same principle used by companies that field lots of calls, using interactive voice response menus to handle questions about store hours, locations, etc.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Nov 29, 2010 10:34 AM User1890192 User1890192  says:

Get Gist for e-mails,tweets,facebookall your contactsits the solutions to so much mail


Post a comment





(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.




Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.