Email: Dealing with overload

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■ Basic measures


□ Learn how filters work and use them to filter low-priority mail into mailboxes that can be checked periodically, rather than crowding your inbox.

□ Filter out messages that are CC-ed to you, or e-mails from sources that are high-volume but not vital.


□ Turn off pop-up alerts.

■ For those suffering from severe e-mail overload, Stever Robbins suggests radical measures:
□ Train people to send relevant e-mails by making your responses brief or, Robbins suggests, by replying with one word: “relevant?”. People will get the message, he says.
□ Charge people to send you e-mails (Robbins says this works for one chief executive who deducts $5 from the budget of her staff for each one they send her).
□ Delay responses to non-urgent e-mails, or don’t answer e-mails at all.

■ Employ good e-mail practices yourself:
□ Don’t forward, CC or BCC messages to people who don’t need them.
□ If the topic has changed over the course of several messages, change the subject line to reflect more accurately the new content.
□ Be aware of “threading”: don’t cover too many issues in one e-mail, but don’t break them down into too many separate messages.
□ Write detailed subject lines and be clear about action points for people.
□ When sending a message to multiple recipients, include a few words for each person if you require different types of responses or actions from them.

■For more advice on dealing with e-mail, go to www.ft.com/e-mailoverload

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