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Manage Your Email
Dr. Greg Ketchum, 9/11/04
Email, that wonder tool that was supposed to
make us more efficient, is now overwhelming us
and taking more and more of our time.
- Jupiter Communications predicts the number
of emails the average person in the US receives
each year will go from 1800 in 1999 to 5,600
- Ferris Research found that executives spend
as much as 2 hours a day answering email.
- Finally, according to Zdnet about 60% of
all email is spam.
Major Challenge of
It’s easy, quick and as such has become
almost a default mode of communication,
even when it’s not the best mode. That is, most
of us now use email as a first choice without
even thinking about it. In short, we’ve just gotten
lazy and email helps us be lazy.
The first step in gaining control is in getting
up off your duff and quit being so lazy about
using email as a reflexive way to communicate.
You know, the old “you reap what you sew” thing.
If you’re lazy about it, then you can’t complain
when everyone else is too.
Let me give you some examples of when to use
and not to use email.
When to Use Email
- To schedule a meeting
- To make an announcement
- To relay brief bits of information or check
on project status.
When Not to Use Email
- To resolve a conflict or work out an issue.
- To carry out complex negotiations.
- To communicate delicate/emotional information,
i.e. disciplining someone.
Think about it. If your task requires human interaction,
is complex or potentially easy to misinterpret
pick up the phone or drop by.
How to Get Control of Your
If All Else Fails
And You’re Not Getting Through to Others
- Block It
Spam filter, email program settings, network
admin, email provider.
- Educate Your Senders
Let them know your preferred mode of communication,
what type info to send in email vs. when to
pick up the phone, when to cc you (never!) as
usually most CC is CYA.
- Deal with an Email Once
Reply, delete or file.
- Hit it Early
Go through email first thing in the morning
& clear it out. Develop a rhythm.
- Golden Rule of Email
Email unto others as you would have them email
unto you: keep it short, make sure it’s the
best mode to use, stop sending needless emails,
no CYA CC’s.
Most email programs let you “bounce” email back
to the sender marked as non-deliverable. Let
your coworkers know that if they don’t use email
properly, i.e. proper grammar, capitalization,
spelling, greetings & salutations, or too
many cc emails, etc., you’ll bounce it right
back to them. That should get the message through.
In summary, to really get control of your email you’ve
got to approach it from 3 major angles: blocking,
If you’ve got work or career topics you’d like to see us
address, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
®2004 All rights reserved. Gregory
A. Ketchum, Ph.D.