Five Solutions for the Enigma of Email Proficiency

emailproblemsEmail worries getting you down? Are you bogged down in the quagmire of email overload? Is online communication stressing out your offline life? There are ways to curtail this confounding correspondence. You can learn to email better, answer more quickly, and discard your digital doldrums.

We all have email in our lives. It is a necessary evil that we cannot live without. It is a cousin to our other 21st century addictions: The cell phone and the iPod. Sometimes it seems that it is taking over our lives, but the following ways can help you to put email in check and give you much more time during the day.

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number1Only check your email two or three times a day.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? But how many of us sit by the computer like a schoolgirl waiting for that guy from home room to call? Just because the email lands in your inbox doesn’t mean that you have to answer it within seconds. There is no contest to be first to answer. By answering your emails as they arrive, your train of thought is broken and tasks take much longer to accomplish. Set a time to answer your emails while you are at work. A half hour after you arrive, after lunch, and before you leave for the day is plenty of time to get back to people.

number2Quit feeling the need to include everyone.
Why does the entire company need to be included on every joke, invite, or quip of the day? You wouldn’t invite your entire department to a meeting unless they were all required to be there, don’t put them on every email. And don’t “Reply All” to questions directed to solely you. There is no need to clutter the information highway even further with a “Yes or No” response. If there is a need to include everyone -whether you desire a response or not – then put the intent in the Subject Line.

number3Every notice does not deserve an answer.
Just because it is said, doesn’t mean that you need to reply. Email is not a telephone conversation or lunch meeting. If someone writes, “Here is the information that you requested and if you have any questions, contact me.” There is no need for a return email with the solitary word of “Thanks!” This is email clutter and you just cost that person time out their schedule to open a meaningless message. They know you are thankful, let them carry on their job.

number4Is email the right mode of communication?
The answer to this is “Not always.” Email is fast. Email is concise. Email is efficient. Email, however, is not the mode of communication to tell someone their dog just died. Think before you send off an email and remember, you cannot include inflection of the spoken word in the inbox. If there is a chance you can receive an inflammatory response, maybe you should consider calling or speaking with the subject in person.

number5File your email.
I hate looking for my email from months long gone.  It is a pain.  The way to solve this problem is to file it.  Email services, like Gmail have a way for you to put emails into folders.  There are add-ons for Outlook that can help, as well.  One I found to use is Quickfile 4 Outlook. These methods could save you hours per week in wasting time looking for that one specific email.

 

Email can be very time-saving and time-wasting. Done properly, it can be a vital part of your communication process, allowing you to get your message across concise and efficiently.   Ask yourself: “How do I use my email?” If you have any comment or suggestions, please do not hesitate to respond. By email, of course…