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Ten Tips for Managing Incoming E-mail at a Manageable Level

Tags:  e-mail, Career success, Productivity

With all the good things that e-mail brings, like ease of use, it brings with it some negatives as well, like ease of use. Because it is so easy we tend to do it robotically, without thinking and this can result in an overflow of information for recipients as well as for ourselves.


According to a report put out by UCLA in 2001 of the 72.3 percent of Americans who use the Internet, 87.9 percent use email. That's a lot of people and a lot of e-mail.


That's why career minded individuals quickly learn the importance of managing incoming e-mail messages in order to stay ahead of the game. The strategy is for employees to reduce the number of unwanted messages that arrive in their work inbox. To do this, employees should:

  • Not allow friends to email non-work-related information to them. This not only distracts employees from their work, but could result in inappropriate e-mails showing up at the office.
  • Not use their business address to purchase on-line or to send out their resume. Not only is this inappropriate use of company technology, many companies use monitoring equipment that may very well be tracking these actions.
  • Don't enter a work e-mail address into guest books or request to remove your name from a mailing list. It will probably only result in more e-mails.
  • Notify all appropriate business senders when their message has been received and if there is a question to address, indicate an approximate date they will hear back with a response.  
  • Set up folders and organize incoming emails into the appropriate folders. This helps to control what needs to be done immediately and what can wait for another time.
  • Use 'filters' to help sort e-mail according to priority. For instance, set up a filter that automatically moves e-mails from specifically identified people into a separate folder.
  • Set up their email so they receive notification when new messages arrive in their inbox. That way they can quickly review and respond to urgent messages while easily moving all other messages into a designated folder for later handling.
  • Set aside time out of every day – at the beginning or end of day is usually best – to deal with the e-mails and respond based on priority.  
  • Consider setting up the view of their email as a preview, so they can quickly glance at their messages without opening them. This helps employees to get a quick peek and decide if this is an e-mail that requires immediate action.
  • Periodically clean out archived e-mails; determine what needs to continue to be saved and which e-mails can now be discarded.

Controlling the amount of e-mail we receive can sometimes seem overwhelming; however, with a little forethought and by utilizing the tools that are offered to us, employees can make e-mail more manageable.


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