In-box to overcapacity

It’s happening everywhere. That seemingly never-ending deluge of emails, filling up your in-box, often to overflowing. It’s like gridlock every time you look at your computer screen. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to inch two cars ahead.

And it doesn’t rest. I have days when I get 40+ messages between 7 pm and 7 am (and yes, I know some of you get 100). And they’re all clamoring for my attention when I get to the office in the morning (or sneak a peak at my BB at night).

So what’s a poor blogger to do?

Here are four things I’ve tried that help ease the congestion (a bit):

1. Stop being so anal about ‘covering your ass’. File or delete. Make that your mantra. Be more strategic and make decisions about what you need to keep. Don’t leave your in-box with a deluge (as I occasionally do). So much email is little more than a recorded instant message exchange.

2. Prioritize your messages and deal with them in bunches. I have to admit, I’m not great at this, but I am getting better. And I’m never more productive than when I’m at a two hour meeting, come back and then take 30 minutes to respond to the onslaught. Selectively using a BB on a long subway is also good (just remember to press send before Rosedale and Davisville).

3. Take an email vacation. When you’re away for a week or more, ask people you work with to stop cc’ing you on anything but the most important documents. See if they’ll be kind enough to prepare one email summarizing the key points about what’s happened. Offer to do the same for them.

4. And talk to people. (How quaint!) The conversation isn’t only online. Not everything has to (or should) be in writing.

Any other thoughts to add?

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One thought on “In-box to overcapacity

  1. Great ideas, Martin. I really like encouraging the notion that e-mail often is the WORST way to send a message. Why not pick up the phone or drop by I often advise my students.

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