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by Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
It's interesting. Technology
is often heralded as a servant for us yet frequently we become
a servant to it. E-mail was trumpeted as the new communications
tool that would surely put first class "snail mail"
out of business. Last year, the U. S. Post Office delivered more
pieces of first class mail than ever and e-mails exceeded the
volume of first class mailings. We have created another layer
of communicating with one another and an additional responsibility
to monitor and manage.
E-mail is a useful
tool but many feel controlled by this new vehicle. The average
businessperson is getting around 80 e-mails per day and many
feel that about 80% of the messages in their "In Box"
are of little or no value.
So, as always,
rising to the occasion, I have four suggestions to help you to
become better at "Easing E-mail".
1. Get off
The best way to deal with a problem is to never have it. If you
are receiving a lot of unwanted e-mails, ask to be removed from
the various lists. This would include your inclusion in unwanted
"cc" lists or unappreciated solicitations from those
promising "unlimited wealth without risk or effort".
Just like getting an "unlisted" telephone number that
you share only with those whom you want to give direct access,
you might want to get a separate e-mail address that you use
only for the important communications you wish to receive.
3. Check it
once or twice per day. Many I speak with are become chained to their email
server, monitoring incoming email on a continuous basis. Maybe
this is because e-mail creates its own sense of urgency, but
most of the communications are not all that urgent. I let my
"incoming" batch up and I respond to them a couple
of times per day.
4. Deal with
handling paper, you don't want to get into the "shuffling
blues" where you read e-mail, postpone action, save it,
re-read it later, and allow things to slip through the cracks.
As you open each e-mail do one of the following:
a. If it requires
a quick response, (it will only take a minute or two), respond
to it and delete it.
b. If it requires a response but is not the best use of your
time, try to think of a way of delegating it. There's a lot of
difference between "I do it" and "It gets done".
c. If it is going to take any serious amount of time to respond
beyond a minute or two), schedule it for action in your Day Planner
and then download the message, save it, or print it out for future
receive approximately 250 e-mails per day and by practicing the
suggestions above, I can handle that volume in about an hour,
taking advantage of this fantastic tool but not being controlled
by it to the distraction of more important tasks in my day.
- Dr. Donald
E. Wetmore is a professional
speaker and publisher of Timely Time Management Tips,
a free ezine aimed to increase your personal productivity and
get more out of every day. You can sign up now for his free "TIME
MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION LIST" at: http://www.topica.com/lists/timemanagement
and select "subscribe". You can also contact Dr. Wetmore
at the Productivity Institute, Time Management Seminars, 60 Huntington
St., P.O. Box 2126, Shelton, CT 06484. Ph: (800) 969-3773, (203)
929-9902; Fax: (203) 929-8151, mailto:[email protected], or visit
his web site at http://www.balancetime.com.