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The How-To Lounge: Coping with Excessive E-mail

In this technical day and age, e-mail is a part of our everyday life. We are so married to our e-mail that every new phone has the ability to be wireless so everyone can stay connected even if they are away from their desks. But with so many e-mails inundating your inbox, it's hard to keep your head screwed on straight. Below are some tips to help you stay afloat when your e-mail inbox is overflowing with messages.

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  • According to new research, the average Outlook business user receives 470 e-mails a week and spends 15 hours dealing with them. Predictions state that by 2009, workers will spend 41 percent of their time reading and responding to e-mails -- so when are you supposed to do your day job?
  • It's pretty clear that we all receive entirely too much e-mail, so take the appropriate steps to weed out unnecessary messages. Take your name off distribution mailing lists from stores, news updates, concert updates, etc.
  • If you haven't already, have your IT department set up a spam block so you don't get bogged down with junk mail
  • Limit the number of e-mail accounts you have active. It's recommended to have one business account and one personal account. The more accounts you have, the more spam and junk mail you will receive
  • Create a method when going through your e-mails. Some people think it's easier to flag important messages and deal with them later while others like to read each e-mail only once, deal with it, and delete it or file it away, never to be looked at again. Whatever system works for you, stick to it. Organization is key
  • When it comes to e-mail etiquette, less is more. You're not alone if you feel overwhelmed by your inbox, so try to send the least amount of e-mails as possible, and be respectful of who you CC
  • Many times people respond back to a rhetorical e-mail just to confirm to you that they received it. If you don't need the confirmation, add a notation at the bottom of the message, NRN, standing for No Response Needed
  • The e-mails are going to keep coming, so trying to constantly stay on top of them is close to impossible. Give yourself a break, turn off your BlackBerry every once in a while, turn your out of office on if you need the silence in order to get your work done, and when you go on vacation, go on vacation!

I hope these tips are helpful, and like always, if you have any other suggestions, please share them in the comments below!


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