E-mail Overload

Are you working for your inbox?
Some of the most basic forms of email were created in the early '70s. And since then, studies and experts have debated whether it's made us more or less productive. Overall most people agree the electronic tool is useful, but some people want to stop the e-mail overload.

Every day, it's estimated that more than 200 billion little dings are heard around the world. Now, e-mails are the source of new declarations.

"I have closed entire accounts because they were nothing but receptacles for junk," said Gina Barge.

Declaring e-mail bankruptcy is "when you are so inundated with e-mail , both genuine and spam, that you have to delete everything and start over again."

"At some point it just winds up that you have three or 400 e-mails that are unanswered," said Cali Lewis, GeekBrief.TV.

Some companies such as U.S Cellular in Chicago have created "no e-mail Fridays." But not everyone has that option nor can they just wipe the slate clean.

"I am an insurance underwriter and I get about 15 -20 e-mails per five minutes, so I am constantly on e-mail," said Joe Catalano.

But not everyone is like him. E-mail organization experts say you should not expect people to constantly be checking their e-mails for fast responses. Also, depending on your job requirements, experts say you should try to only look at your inbox two or three times a day.

"We are reactive instead of proactive, and when we are reactive we are not working on the wildly important goals," said Sydne Calet, Franklin Covey. "We are working on these tiny little urgencies that come up."

She and other organization consultants say if you don't need to respond immediately, you can turn e-mails into appointments by clicking and dragging them into the colander icon.

"Do I need to act on it now or is this something I need to act on a later date?" said Don Howard, Priority Management.

They also say you should start your day opening Outlook in the calendar form so you can see your goals for the day. Don't open it in the inbox mode.

"You are never checking your e-mail first thing in the morning what happens is you get thrown off," said Ralph Lamas, Franklin Covey.

Another tip: if you can; write your entire message in the subject line and then end it with "EOM" for "end of message." Then the person receiving the e-mail doesn't even have to open it.

Employees at Dr. Kyra Barnes' dentist office on the city's South Side are learning these tricks. They're buried under more than 600 unopened emails.

"And just as soon as I get through maybe ten, the next day, 50 more will flood in so it's a challenge trying to manage that," said Barnes.

They're now learning to reduce their inbox by moving e-mails they want to save to labeled folders and setting up rules and filters so certain people's e-mails go to different inbox folders. Most importantly, experts say, you should follow what they call the four Ds of e-mail.

Another big way to reduce e-mails - call someone or just go walk to their desk.


www.franklincovey.com/webinars - 1-800-391-1492

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