For the millennial generation (full disclosure, I’m a millennial), email is too slow and no one uses the telephone. Texts are much faster, but the truth is the rest of the world still relies on email as a way to communicate.
That means if you don’t already, someday you will have multiple accounts to manage multiple accounts. A personal account with your name or a professional variation before the @ sign and an appropriate signature line, a work account with the same, a junk mail account (the account you use to sign up for coupons and other mailings you don’t want in your regular account) and a another one (volunteer, club, etc.). According to this Mashable article, citing this report, the average person receives mores than 100 emails a day. Eventually, you will have to find a system to manage all that email.
Finding one that works for you can be a lot of trial and error. Luckily, the above mentioned Mashable article has created a few short cuts for you.
- Set a time limit
One that works for you and takes into consideration your office culture. If it’s 15 minutes as the article suggests, great! If it’s an ongoing hourly thing, also great! Just make sure it works for you.
- Know Your Etiquette
“The average time it takes to respond to an email is greater than the time it took to create it,” the author writes. “So every hour you spend writing emails is double for your recipients.” Let that sink in for a minute. This doesn’t mean the stop and start email that took an hour because the phone rang, you got thirsty and your talkative coworker stopped by. It means the total time it took to write the email. Further, if you are writing an email for more than 10 minutes and it isn’t a letter to a long-lost friend, what are you writing about any way?
Use flags, use stars, use bigger fonts for your boss do something to break it all up. Determine what will always need your focused and immediate attention and work down from there. Avoid using email as a to-do list.
- Don’t Signup for Junk
Or use that junk email address you already have, you know the one that doesn’t have your first name and last name before the @? Opt out of as many updates as you can. Take this piece of advice to heart: “Unsubscribing is only as reliable as the sender’s integrity. You may also be exposing yourself as a real person to a spammer, who will sell your address to someone else.”
- Don’t Open Mail Twice
If you are still using your inbox as a to-do list, this won’t help you. If you’re archiving messages for future reference, this option probably isn’t for you. The five options: delete/archive, delegate, respond (if you can do it in under two minutes), defer, or do are a way to think about the rest of your inbox and should be at least considered.
If only some of these solutions worked for the regular junk mail in the actual mail box.
How do you manage the constant stream of email?