3 March 2008

E-mail Management

I sent an e-mail to some friends and colleagues to ask for assistance on an article I wanted to write on e-mail management, as I felt that sometimes e-mail seemed to be taking over. I wondered what others thought and how they went about managing their Inbox. To date I have had no replies, and I understand. E-mail management does not have an easy solution. We are all just trying to manage the best way that we can.

Here are some of the things I wanted to know:
  • How do you manage your e-mail, or do you?
  • What would make your life simpler with e-mail?
  • Do you have any tricks or tips that you have picked up over the years or tried and found to work for you?
  • If you are a manager, what role does your administrative assistant play in helping you manage your e-mail, or is your e-mail account “hands off”?
  • If you are an Admin how do you assist your boss?

E-mail management is difficult, but it is not going to go away. E-mail is becoming the preferred choice in business communication.

Why are we so overwhelmed by e-mail and how can we better manage our Inbox? Here are a few things I have found help me to manage, but by no means do I think I have the answer, but I am coping for now.

  • Let your friends know that you are too busy at work to accept joke e-mails and refer them to your home e-mail account instead. I have found that this simple step has cut down on much of the junk and clutter in my Inbox and so far nobody has been offended by my asking.
  • Unless it is work related, I subscribe to any e-mail feeds to my home e-mail account.
  • Avoid sending e-mail for little things because you know people will then Reply to your e-mail and boom you have another e-mail in your Inbox to deal with. Try using the phone or get up and go and speak to the person.
  • Reply to All is a nice feature, but is not always the best way to reply to an e-mail. We are already overwhelmed by the volume of e-mail in our Inbox, we do not need another one popping in that probably was not necessary for everyone to see in the first place.
  • Have subfolders in your e-mail account so you can deal with e-mails quickly and put them in the appropriate folder for filing or for future action.
  • Take advantage of your reminders and drag and drop e-mails in a task to deal with at a later date. Or use the flag for follow up feature in Outlook.
  • E-mail archiving programs are great to deal with the “your Inbox is full” problem. Your old e-mails will go to sleep so won’t take as much memory, but they are still available with just a click.
  • Read books on what others are doing. You may not be able to use everything they suggest, but if you can find a few things that will help you it is worth it.

I think people just don’t have the time to figure out how to manage e-mail because they are too busy checking their Inbox.

1 comment:

The Professional Assistant said...

I have sub-folders set up for each person within my department, which is in a departmental folder. Then I have folders for all other staff members within my company.

For clients, I use the company name system.

Thanks,

Richard Rinyai
www.theprofessionalassistant.net