I try to avoid re-posting content, but this list of ways to deal with email overload was too good to ignore. Original source is CNN/reuters:
- Admit that e-mail is managing you. Let go of your need to check e-mail every ten minutes.
- Commit to keeping your inbox empty.
- Create files where you can put inbox material that needs to be acted on.
- Make broad headings for your filing system so that you have to spend less time looking for filed material.
- Deal immediately with any e-mail that can be handled in two minutes or less but create a file for mails that will take longer.
- Set a target date to empty your in box. Don’t spend more than an hour at a time doing it.
- Turn off automatic send/receive.
- Establish regular times to review your e-mail.
- Involve others in conquering your addiction.
- Reduce the amount of e-mail you receive.
- Save time by using only one subject per e-mail; delete extra comments from forwarded e-mail, and make the subject line detailed.
- Celebrate taking a new approach to e-mail.
I’ve actually adopted #1 and #7 in the past two weeks, I must say, it’s been wonderful. I’ve come out against
CrackBerries BlackBerries many times before, and I’m starting to really crystallize my thoughts on what it is I don’t like about the most recent innovations in communication technology (especially IMing, SMS/texting, email, mobile email, and even things like call-waiting): these are all forms of communication which are all about being interruptive.
So my auto-email updater is now off. IM is on, but I ignore it a lot when I am focusing on something, and I may soon turn it off more often. I like SMS, but can also easily ignore it. I do try to avoid call-waiting (except when the wife calls) as much as I can. I’m not perfect at any of these things, but I’m trying. I think I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle, it seems as if the world is shifting into a mode where interruption is not just happening, but accepted and even encouraged.
I’d like to hope that we’re at the extreme end of the pendulum on these behaviors. I’d like to think people will shift back toward the middle. A little less phone calls in the movie theaters and at the restaurants. A few fewer Swiss Army Knives mounted to peoples’ ears at all occasions (psst, I mean bluetooth headsets). Maybe the little red blinky light on the BlackBerry can just keep going off throughout dinner? Or we can try to stop saying “hey, hold on just a sec, I wanna grab this call.” Can we please?
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
My name is Jeremy. It’s been 9 minutes since I’ve checked email, and I have 411 unread emails in my inbox.