Email Management

Every four or five weeks I get an automated message telling me that I have exceeded the storage capacity on my work email account. So, I quickly go into my trash folder and push the terminate button. Then, it's into the sent folder, select all and delete. Normally, this puts me back into a safe place for the foreseeable future. Not today.

My Inbox overfloweth. I tried to keep ahead of the deluge on our holidays but they kept piling on. No matter what I do, I can't seem to get under 700 messages.

To explain. I have seen every one of the messages in my Inbox. The fact that they are still residing there indicates that I haven't figured out what to do with them yet. Many are destined for the trash. Others will need to be filed in an appropriate folder. A small percentage require a response. A certain number require me to do something.

Email communication has become the primary way we do things today. Not long ago, back before the days of Windows and Internet access at every desk, we sent memos, made phone calls, convened meetings and walked down the hall to pass along a thought. Most of us in management roles had secretaries that took our messages when we were unable to take calls-a phallic gadget at the corner of the desk piled high with impaled pink pieces of paper was the Inbox of that era.

I'm convinced that if institutions and companies invested in email management training, our productivity would increase exponentially. How could it not? Think about how many minutes in an average day you spend dealing with emails. Messages from unknown companies trying to sell you something. Notices from other departments that they're closing for a couple of hours to have a staff meeting. Way too many group emails where someone has hit reply-all to answer a simple yes or no question or to confirm attendance at the next gathering. Sound familiar?

Don't get me wrong, I love email. I really do. It is an amazing way of connecting, organizing, delegating, tracking, selling, soothing, thanking, questioning, answering, and contemplating. But how do we take control of emails instead of them controlling us? If you have the answer, you could be well on your way to becoming very rich and famous.

August 22, 2010 - 198.2 pounds, 30.2% body fat


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