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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Email Overload: Ideas to Help!


It sits there every day taunting you. Your email box already has hundreds, if not thousands of emails. How many will you add today? You have tried a number of ways to lessen this stress. Either they didn’t work or you gave up on them. You know that email still remains the lifeblood of communication in DKG. You have been afraid to delete an email, thinking that you might need the information it contained. How many times have you needed that information and couldn’t find it?
The suggestions below may help to make an impact. Perhaps some strategies will seem natural and you will use them faithfully. Everyone will do things differently. Try a few ideas and see what fits.
  • Perhaps the most radical suggestion is to set up at least three different email accounts: work account, personal account, and a “junk” or bulk account. Some members create a DKG account as their "work" account. In any case, privacy advocates suggest setting up one account that you use strictly for your bank or credit union. If you begin to get spam on this account, it has been compromised in some way.
  • Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe! Even if you have a “junk” account, it can easily get out of control. Scroll to the bottom and choose to unsubscribe.
  • Schedule a time to work with your email.  Allow time for responding, unsubscribing, organizing, deleting, and anything else that may be needed. Stick to that schedule and attend to every new email in your inbox.
  • Reply/Delete/Store Create a method to store important emails. Put important emails in folders that will organize by topic. Consider using a program such as Evernote (free), which will store important information and can be searched.  Immediately after reading and replying (if needed), make the decision to delete or store. Although some people find it hard to delete any emails, remember that storing emails takes up valuable space. Be ruthless.
  • Read each email ONCE and make a decision. Does it get stored or deleted? Do it! Complete each email before moving on.
  • Create a bridge email. Do not let people remain in suspense, unsure of what is going on. Senders may be unsure if you even received their emails. They may also get offended when you don’t even send a reply. Instead, send a bridge email that assures senders that you have received the email. A bridge email is a “canned” response, but a simple “Thank you” usually does the trick.
  • Avoid flagging emails.  Flagging emails is similar to hanging a “To Do” list on the bulletin board. You may have good intentions, but you don’t necessarily always follow through. Instead of flagging emails, consider creating a space on the calendar for the follow up. A digital calendar will send you a reminder that the email still needs a reply so you may actually get to it! However, the most efficient method is to provide an immediate response. Procrastination usually leads to unanswered emails and upset people.
  • Try to get to inbox zero.  That does not mean there are no emails in your inbox. It means that you handled every email ONCE and did something with it.
  • Reacquaint yourself with your email program. Most have time-saving aspects such as filtering or identifying important topics/people.
The first two suggestions above should be adopted by everyone. But if you try the first five, you will be well on your way to less stress and more organization.
Do you have a way to reduce inbox frustration? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE an email tool called Unroll Me. It takes all my email subscriptions and rolls them into one compact, daily email. I can choose which subscriptions to include in my daily roll up. It helps me easily unsubscribe from emails I no longer wish to receive. And it's very satisfying each day to quickly glance at all the subscription emails that have arrived. I can click on any I want to view more closely, and then.... the best part, I can throw away a whole batch of emails in one click! Awesome, awesome, awesome resource. It was recommended by our school's IT guy and I have not experienced anything but satisfaction since the day I started using it. The web site is https://unroll.me/. I suggest you give it a try.

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