Do you ever wish you could go back in time because you just know that you saw that email as it drifted to your inbox, but you have no idea what happened to it after that? Our final February blog covers how to find those lost emails we've saved for future reference.
A significant 59% of middle managers say they miss valuable digital information EVERY day because they can't find it or don't see it. The fewer incoming emails there are the easier it is to pick out the relevant info vs. being inundated every time we check email (and I'm hoping we aren't doing it 36 times an hour but are sticking to our Email Budget!).
It all starts with stemming the tide of incoming emails by practicing the skills we've talked about earlier in the month.
Go back to the future, and have all the emails you need. But how?
Categorize incoming email correctly. How do we categorize correctly? By naming files and folders in a way that make sense to us as individuals. Take a minute to ask yourself the following questions:
Catchy title, eh? Graymail are emails we "opt in" to receive, but aren't really interested in reading. Think about checking out at a retail store and they ask you for your email address - YEP, that's "opting in" for advertising solicitations from that store. Also known as "Bacn" (as in bacon) because it is generally considered more desirable than spam, this collection of emails can fill your Inbox menu, but are they really what you ordered?
What is Graymail?
A fairly decent chunk of the emails coming to our inboxes each day - 19% - are considered spam and graymail. We all know spam. Those subject lines telling us we've won a million dollars in return for a small deposit. And we have spam filters in place to eliminate it. Graymail, however, enters a grayer area. We've acquiesced to receiving it the minute we give out our email address to anyone! Think about email newsletters, Groupons, grocery store advertising - those are all examples of graymail - specific advertising targeted to you, the lovely consumer!
Is some of the graymail relevant? Yes! It's targeted at our interests. Have I ever made a purchase due to graymail I've received? Another resounding YES! Of course!
What Do I Do About Graymail?
My recommendation? Use the unsubscribe button at the bottom of graymail (often in very tiny print) to remove yourself from mailing lists that don't interest you. I did this every day for one week - instead of just hitting "delete" or letting the graymail linger in my Inbox adding additional stress.
I've done these steps, and the result? I get MUCH less email! Another bonus? I've gotten faster about making the decision as to whether individual emails are worth my time, even the time it takes to click "Delete". I love it!
Try it for a week and let me know how it goes. Do you have another way to decrease your email? I'd love to hear about it!
Continuing our February Email theme (not love, silly) I bet you can guess what the average worker does 36 times an hour....I can hardly believe this myself, but yes, checks his/her email!!! That, my friend, is a lot o' email checkin'! Not only that, but we send/receive about 105 emails a day. That means 38,325 emails in a year. Yowza.
Why do we do that? It's like we've been trained to jump at the sound of the incoming mail and respond immediately - channeling Pavlov's dogs and Classical Conditioning. Based on the information from last week's blog, we know that refocusing after an interruption takes MORE time than staying focused and finishing the task at hand. It's not just emails - it's texts, tweets, dings, dongs, insties, selfies - the list goes on.
What's a person to do? Utilize the Email Budget we talked about last week - and have it in writing, even on a post it note by your computer, to help you stick to it. Can't imagine only checking your email twice a day? Try for once an hour. Aim low, and achieve! You can tweak the plan as you go along and tailor it for success.
One final note. Please don't check your email first thing in the morning. Oh yes, we get a great feeling of accomplishment by whittling down that inbox that popped up overnight, while the rest of our paperwork and phone calls continue to pile up around us. Emails will wait - I promise. They can be very patient, lurking in files and folders for years.
What can you do in 10 or 15 minutes? I'm thinking most of us can cram quite a bit into that small time frame if we're committed to it. I've lectured, oops I mean blogged, about the inefficiency of multi-tasking, which we've all been convinced is the best way to use our time.
There is a frenzy in our computers and on our smartphones and tablets - the endless supply of emails streaming into our inboxes. It takes 10 - 15 minutes to refocus on a project after an email interruption. Multiply that by the 36 times the average worker checks his/her email and we've got a serious time deficiency on our hands. It is time to tame the email frenzy and get back on track.
What to do, what to do? How about WE control the email instead of the email controlling us, like the saying the tail wags the dog vs the other way around? We don't even need fancy technology to do this! Start by setting an "Email Budget".
Don't have any idea how much time email is taking up in your life? Try an app like MyMinutes (IOS) or RescueTime (Android) that run in the background and track your activity. I promise you, it's a real eye opener! I would love to hear from you, too. Take less than 1 minute to add your voice to our poll, and see how much time others are spending on email, too.
Be sure to stop by next week for....Using your Email Budget effectively.
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who