Ten Useful Ideas to Manage Email Overload

Technology-related problems don’t always require high-tech solutions. Here are 10 suggestions for business email that anyone can follow (and that may provide some ideas for companywide guidelines):

Ten Useful Ideas to Manage Email Overload

  1. Unsubscribe to unnecessary e-newsletters or other broadcasts, and restrict personal email traffic.
  2. Refrain from checking your email during designated periods of the day.
  3. Be cognizant of the time that it actually takes from your day (including loss of concentration on other tasks and responsibilities).
  4. Turn off your alerts (you know, those pop-ups at the bottom of the screen that interrupt your groove).
  5. Send less to receive less.
  6. Pick up the phone when a chain gets out of hand (with back and forth messaging) or the message is more than a couple of hundred words long.
  7. Take the top-down approach. Key information should come first.
  8. Use accurate and descriptive subject lines to help others more easily find an message in their inbox.
  9. Set a limit on how long your message can be so you spend less time composing and the recipient spends less time reading.
  10. Clean out your inbox periodically (weekly, for example).

Despite its drawbacks, email is still a marvelous business tool for:

  • Delegating tasks
  • Providing a document trail
  • Sharing information, and
  • Confirming administrative actions.

As in most cases with technology, problems arise not from faulty hardware or poorly coded software, but rather in how that technology is used. Simple policies and guidelines, along with your heightened awareness, will allow email to be the valuable tool it was designed to be. Now that sounds like a productive resolution!