Taming the Email Monster
Let’s reframe the role of e-mail in your business. Consider e-mail to be a medium to get information from one place to another, not as an end in itself. It is a “pass-through,” in much the same way as the role of the telephone is to give and receive information.
How many emails are in your inbox right now? Opened? Unopened? Waiting for something? When someone asks you if you have received their email, will you bend the truth to ‘cover’ for yourself because you won’t know? Are you scrolling through pages of inbox looking for something but can’t find it? If you are average, you have 36 hours of work awaiting you – just to clear your inbox. Almost one entire week! You have email overwhelm!
Some reasons for email overwhelm:
- People you work with needlessly carbon copy everyone on everything.
- Or everyone ‘replies to all’, or adds on to long email threads. This forces you to sift through much ‘non-information’ or redundant information before you actually can identify the content of the email.
- Subscribing to too many newsletters and auto feeds. What goes out must come back. Are you sending too many emails?
- You might be addicted to email. Do you take your handheld electronic email device into the bedroom?
- Checking emails while on vacation or during non-business hours?
Other reasons are those you can directly control. What exactly does ‘checking’ email mean to you? Usually that is a big time waster. If you live in your email inbox and manage your to do’s based on what arrives in your inbox each day, then you are controlled by email. Being reactive is a loss of control of your day. You may feel like you are accomplishing much, however, you have confused being busy with accomplishment and getting things done. Another reason your inbox can become unmanageable is that you have an “I’ll take care of this later attitude” (later never gets here). You must make a decision about each email that you open; if not, it becomes clutter. Electronic clutter is expensive because it takes up storage space on your company’s server. Processing speed is slowed, and precious, expensive memory is wasted.