Quick relief from e-mail overload

Eliminate Time-Draining E-mail Habits 

If you are feeling overburdened and stressed at work, your online habits may be partly to blame. Poor e-mail management often is a sign—or the cause—of other time management woes. A top culprit: mismanaging incoming messages.

Marsha Egan, president of The Egan Group, a success-coaching firm, offers a self-management program that teaches you how to eliminate time draining e-mail habits and boost your productivity. First, Egan says, you need to alter your perception of e-mail: Stop viewing the act of checking e-mail as a task in itself; come to see e-mail as merely a task delivery system. Then adopt these habits:

  • Empty your inbox every time you check it.
  • Live by the two-minute rule. If you can handle any incoming message in two minutes or less, do so immediately. That could mean replying to, forwarding or simply deleting a message.
  • Use a filing system. Create action folders and use them temporarily to file e-mail messages that will take longer than two minutes to respond to. Treat those messages as items on your daily to-do list.
  • Control incoming messages—instead of letting them control you. Change your “send and receive” e-mail function from “Automatic” to “Every two hours.”

Source: Success Magazine July/August 2007

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