Jan 132010

One of the quickest and most versatile forms of communication today is the Email.  Most people have at least one email address, if not two or more.  However, email can be counter-productive if you don’t manage it properly.

Here are some practical suggestions for increasing YOUR email productivity:

Strive to keep your Inbox “clean” Do not use your Inbox to store your old emails.  Instead, use your Inbox only for emails that you still need to process or follow up on.   Alternatively, use a separate folder to store emails that you need to respond to.  However, remember to set up regular times to go through and respond to these emails.

Turn off the auto-check feature Most email programs check for new mail automatically at regular intervals.  This serves no useful purpose unless you are waiting for an important email.  It can be very distracting.  Instead of letting the computer decided when to check email for you, turn the auto-check off and do it consciously at pre-determined times during the day.

Keep your email organized Create folders and sub-folders to store messages in a way that makes sense for you.  You can set-up message rules that deliver them directly to these folders.  Organising your email is a balance between making it easy to file new emails as they arrive.  Also, you will be able to find what you are looking for faster.

Use templates for repetitive emails Use templates if you frequently send emails that are the same.  Just type the part of the message that remains the same and leave space for variable such as the person’s name.  Then, when you need to send the email, just open the saved file, paste it into the email addressed to the recipient and add the person’s name.

Use technology to your advantage Spam is annoying and a waste of time.  It can be dangerous as some spam contains viruses or links to malicious websites.  Do no open them!  Use filters to keep most of the garbage out of your Inbox.

Use effective subject lines Some people get dozens of emails per day.  Hence, they have to pick and choose which email they want to read.  You need to use a effective subject line to catch the eye of the recipient or your important message could get lost in the shuffle.  On the other hand, if the subject resembles spam, it will probably be deleted! (if it makes it to the recipient’s Inbox in the first place!)

Email is not always the best method to communicate.

Sometimes it is much more effective to pick up the phone and call someone directly 🙂