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Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Uncategorized |

Tips to manage your e-mail

Tips to manage our e-mail

One of the aspects that we deal in is Bitelia since the technology we can make things easier and help increase our performance at work or in addressing other personal tasks (even if you do not manage properly also can lead us to the “dark side” of procrastination ). The e-mail , for example, is one of the tools used to communicate both personally and professionally, and despite its age and use remains a source of problems for many users who see their inboxes leave no to grow and grow to the point of bringing them to collapse (because capacity to the limit of your account) or being frustrated by the amount of work they believe they have accumulated.

is, at once, ally and enemy of professionals requires good management and if we do not want to upset suppliers, customers and partners because their messages or respond not long before we do or, for example, that suppliers get angry, customers and partners because we devote too much time looking at the messages and neglect our own work (we have to write documents, and software to develop a long list of possible options).

I acknowledge that I have gone through times when the inbox was scared (by the number of messages to read) and even have reached the limit of storage capacity of my work email account for not properly manage the messages I kept coming despite reading many of them. Dealing with the dreaded inbox is part of our daily life and, with the idea of winning this battle and gain agility in managing messages and therefore reverse these gains in our own work, we will spend a few minutes to see some ideas or advice that could apply to the management of our email to manage it more efficiently.

The email is not your own

Last week, when we talk about work productivity we said clearly: “Do not be a slave to email,” a maxim that should be clear.

Except that our work is expected messages arrive (think of a customer service), checking email is a task that we must plan in our daily tasks scheme. Put another way, in the planning of tasks to address in our daily lives, we must reserve slots (eg between tasks) to check the mail, respond to messages (that can respond quickly) or write new tasks arising from posts we receive and not be constantly checking if we have new posts.

Outside these reserved slots, we should skip the inbox and ignore (or disable) the notification of new messages sent. If someone needs something urgently come to our table, we will telephone, through Gtalk contact or send us a message via WhatsApp (for some examples).

Optimize your subscriptions

Over the years, our email address is part of the registration of users of multiple services and companies who send us their offers, newsletters, alerts or notifications of a Christmas card or our birthday.

If our first action after seeing one of these messages is to click on the “delete” without even reading the message content, this newsletter may no longer interest us and it is time to proceed to apply for the low, if instead of going accumulating to “read later”, you may want to store them all in a folder dedicated “To read” or “Later” or “Subscriptions” in which to accumulate this vital work is not a priority.

Does it make sense to read the emails accumulated vacation?

Everyone who is absent from the office a few days, for example, by the time holiday fears around because you can spend a whole day reading perfectly the accumulated messages. It is an image I see every September when my friends again after their summer vacation and is not uncommon to hear “I still have to read messages XXXX”.

Read the messages that have come into our holidays may be fine to have a context of what has happened in our absence, in what state projects or do things we do but, taking into account these factors, perhaps the reading should be selective and non-sequential, ie should read the messages related to a particular project or issue high to low priority. This type of reading is something we can do with the conversation view in Gmail or Google Apps or even also with Thunderbird.

Still, among all these messages you may encounter some mail from someone asks us “urgently” to send you a document or requires us to explain something. If we have been leaving scheduled an “automatic response message”, you may not make much sense to 15 days after receiving the message we answer with the information that we asked for, and probably the person who would have required him to request another no person or sought a source, that is, not all messages that have accumulated must become tasks because they may have expired (account brings us call and ask before you get to work for nothing).

Sometimes after spending a whole day reading messages, the ultimate feeling is that perhaps we should delete them all because we brought nothing new or tasks were already due, hence the importance of making a selective reading and recall the work pace ASAP.

Sorts messages

It is not unreasonable to keep within the inbox messages, despite having read them, we can not file within our folders that require action on our part and therefore symbolize outstanding tasks to perform. However, this classification of read / unread, really, is not efficient and may be important to apply other criteria that help us provide context and therefore distinguish the important from what is not so much or what requires action by us or is awaiting action by a third party.

In my case work with Thunderbird and, within this application, we can apply labels (symbolized by colors) to mark the messages as “urgent”, “personal”, “to-do”, etc., in this way, with a look can quickly locate and prioritize messages and extensions as Quickfilter UNREPLIED can locate messages waiting to be answered.

In Gmail, Google Apps and also can add labels to messages (in the background with folders) and play with the “star” (featured) or important marker, a whole set of tools that can help us in classification.

Moreover, once we’re done with a message, is interesting “clear the inbox” storing it in its respective folder (project, department, business, etc).

Squeeze the filters

We may use applications that generate notification emails, such as a helpdesk tool, a bugtracker or a planning tool / task management. This type of information can be generated emails because we have taken action (discharge of a ticket) or because we’re on the side of the bracket and receive notification of an update or a new task.

This type of automatic mails linked to tasks that require action on our part or that serve to track, may not make much sense to mix with the other messages in the inbox but not directly relevant disposal. As we mentioned with subscriptions, these emails can be stored in dedicated folders (“Tasks Redmine”, “Mantis Bug”, etc.) and, using filters, accumulating there automatically classify these notifications when we have time to read them.

Some people, playing with the message subjects and using a block identifier (as [Nombre del Proyecto] ), automatically sorted messages in project folders (inbox directly clearing) and reviewing emails and classified, for example when they will start work on the project (because I have planned in their daily task list).

Transforms the message into something more

The emails, among other things, can be informative or can lead to some kind of task that requires action on our part or relying on another person you have to make an application. That is, the messages we receive, after reading it, can become a task or a note in our notebook.

So, after reading a message is important that we act immediately and “transform” the message:

  • A task to plan within our staff or planning to run away (if we see that it is going to take a long time)
  • An entry in our book up (for example we can forward mail to our mail in Evernote to automatically transform a message into a note and attach files to email attachments come)
  • A task that is pending, for example, the response of a third party and that therefore we should aim our docket or issues to review
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