Taking Control Of Your Emails
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Familiarise yourself with your email software, in particular the filter function, as it has many features which can make processing more efficient. Using filters to redirect your incoming mail to the appropriate folder makes it easier to sort through what’s left, and get rid of the junk in minimum time.
Use folders to organise and prioritise incoming mail. Set up folders and decide on a time of the day or a day of the week to review and action the contents of each folder. If you have folders set up, your filters can be set to automatically forward incoming mail into the appropriate folder, leaving only messages that don’t fall into a pre-set folder in your inbox.
Don’t fall into the trap of checking your mail every time you see that little icon flashing ‘new mail’. Check it once or twice a day. If possible, disable the icon or the ‘you’ve got mail’ pop-up message altogether. Responding to every email as it comes in only distracts you and undermines your concentration.
Make a decision about each piece of mail and act on it at once. When reviewing your incoming mail, the first decision you need to make is whether to open it at all. Some messages you can safely delete without bothering to open, as they will obviously be unsolicited. Be wary of opening attachments unless you know where they have come from they are a good way of catching a virus.
Decide what action you need to take in response to the emails you open. Some can be deleted, others you can answer immediately if the response will only take a short time. Those that will take longer should be filed in the appropriate folder and dealt with at an appointed time.
Don’t forget to use your email program’s address book to manage email addresses. Most address books allow you to enter the contact’s name, real address, email address, phone numbers and other basic information. By selecting a contact from your email address book, the email address will be automatically inserted into the ‘to:’ field. This can also be applied to groups of contacts.
Author: What are the most important rules for business people?