Posted by Techless on July 10, 2001 at 20:01:01:
Mastering Your E-Mail
Revolutionary means of instant communication or productivity pirate? E-mail can be either one, notes Vancouver productivity expert Dan Stamp -- unless you know how to control it.
"Without the skills to manage e-mail effectively, many people are wasting time just trying to keep up instead of gaining productivity through technology," says Stamp, chairman of training company Priority Management Systems Inc. Here are his seven tactics for effective e-mail management:
1. Turn off the alarm or visual message: "You wouldn't let the mail carrier empty a mailbag on your desk 10 times a day and you certainly wouldn't let them ring a bell with each delivery," Dan Stamp points out. "That's exactly what you are doing if you check each e-mail when it arrives."
2. Treat e-mail like regular mail: Check your e-mail at regular times in the day -- say, early morning, mid-day and late afternoon. Even if you receive heavy volumes of e-mail, says Stamp, resist the urge to check more than four times a day.
3. Create short answers: Brevity helps reduce the length and frequency of messages you receive. Become a master at sending messages that simply read "Done" or "Thanks".
4. Delete diligently: Most people save too many e-mails. Delete messages as soon as you respond to them. If you have to save something, transfer it to a folder.
5. Use an autoreply: People may assume you've received and read urgent messages when you're not even in the office. Use an autoreply that tells people you are out and when you'll be back.
6. Take control of your in-box: Subscribe to e-mail services selectively. Ask friends who send lame jokes or huge files to cease and desist. Get a separate e-mail address for personal communication or for key contacts.
7. Use caution in composing e-mail messages: Sometimes it's too easy to hit the "Send" button -- before you know it, you've sent words you will regret. But not just angry or intemperate messages can backfire; attempts at humor and sarcasm are easily misinterpreted.
Remember: any e-mail you send could be forwarded anywhere. Discretion is the better part of valor.
© Rogers Media 2000