Ahhh… The life of the 2008 government worker. Full of hours on Outlook (except you poor Lotus lovers) reading, writing, and loving email. And then there is managing email on the Blackberry.
If you don’t watch yourself, you can end up spending all day on email. As such, you need a system to manage emails. Generally, I get most of my advice from two sources – Getting Things Done and Lifehacker.
Here are some of my favorites on managing your email:
1) Manage the inbox – the first step of managing email is getting it out of your inbox. My philosophy is to try to keep my inbox to one screen (although I rarely seem to win this battle).
2) Use Folders – I try to keep a folder for each project I have at work. Whether it is related to the Intranet or a large six month project, I have a place where I can place that email. This makes it easier to find emails when I need them.
3) Turn it off – A little known secret is that you can turn off email. The secret is not opening Outlook or opening your Blackberry. Try it for a few hours.
4) Turn off the reminder – Ok…you aren’t really going to turn off your email. But you can manage it better so you aren’t checking email every five seconds. One great idea is to turn off your reminder (and noise) you get when you get a new email. Try to schedule your email for the last five minutes of every hour. Whatever you do, it is better to manage email instead of just reacting to it.
5) Spell-check – if you don’t have this one on automatically, it is a problem.
6) Have a signature – While it can be annoying to see the formal signature of your friend colleague when he asks you about lunch plans, the signature definitely comes in handy. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to coordinate a meeting and all I have is emails from a person with no contact information. Keep a signature so I know how to call you.
7) Push for New Tools – Ask for organizational wikis and any new technologies that will drive down email traffic. Haven’t you seen my friend Chris Rasmussen now-legendary diagram?
What are your tricks with managing email?