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June 21, 2018

You’ve Got Too Much Email!

Most of us get too many emails, and many of us have overflowing in-boxes. While you can’t stop email from coming in, you can manage them to be more positively productive. Here are five tips to make email management easier.

  1. Get responses faster by using a keyword in the subject line. A keyword is the first one or two words of the subject line, and it tells the recipient what is expected of them or communicates the content of the email. Good keywords are Review by [date], Approve by [date], Decision needed, Update, Action needed, and so on.
  2. Set rules to capture emails with certain words and direct them to special file folders in your in-box. You set a rule by:
    1. Identifying a word or name, such as a keyword, your manager’s name, a project name, etc.
    2. Define where in the email this word or name should appear, such as the sender, recipient, subject line, body, and so on.
    3. Set up a file folder with that word or name.
    4. Direct the email server to directly deliver all emails that meet these criteria to that folder.
  3. When you finish an email, never leave it in your in-box. Immediately file it or trash it.
  4. Create a “To Read” folder for emails and attachments that just need to be read, but don’t require a response. When you have some free time, for instance if you are waiting for a meeting to start, read items in the folder and then either file or trash the item.
  5. Implement a follow-up system that makes sense for your work. A good follow-up system lets you remove incomplete emails from your in-box and still be able to find them when you need them. I have an easy-to-use system in my Writing and Managing Email

Need more help with email? See my blog posts Email Matters and Organize Emails for Quick Response.

 

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