Drowning in email – #anz23mthings 3

Email email email
Email by Keith Ramsey via CC license on Flickr

This is a reflection on Thing 3 – #anz23mthings.

And it’s happened already… I am over one week behind with #anz23mthings reflections. Oh the shame! I could tell you that I had a really busy week that week with two days leave for write my research paper and an intense two day project management training course – which is true – but that’s not the real reason.

*hushed voice*
I’m afraid of my email inbox.

There, I said it. I know I am doing some things right already, but I could be a lot more efficient. If I told you the number of emails in my inbox, it would make your hair curl. You thought my following 2000 people on Twitter was bad; that’s nothing compared to this!

I’ve done several major clean ups (usually around assignment due dates – productive procrastination is a wonderful thing), the latest probably 3-4 months ago and I am once again swamped. There are several a number of reasons contributing to this phenomenon:

1. I am a hoarder. You know, one of those annoying people who doesn’t like to throw things out because “it might be handy one day”? That.
2. I have quite email heavy volunteer roles. Library life, ANZ 23 mobile things, being on several committees, you get the picture.
3. I use the same email address for most things. Probably not the best thing, but there you have it.
4. I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists and newsletters to keep current for Library Life, particularly the links section.
5. I don’t delete emails regularly (more on this later)

So after that negative picture, here are some things I am doing right 🙂

1. I use the search box to retrieve the emails I am looking for
2. I sort most things into folders
3. I have created some rules so that newsletters get directed into particular folders
4. I have unsubscribed to a number of newsletters as I am getting the information on twitter
5. I flag emails to follow up on
6. I get the daily digests for mailing lists that I do follow so that I only have 1 email (instead of 15 a day)

Strategies for dealing with email

1. Someone on Twitter suggested the “Scan, read, delete, repeat” approach. This is a fantastic strategy for keeping on top and one that I need to implement daily rather than every few months when I feel compelled to do it 🙂

2. I just saw this new announcement about the Gmail inbox – looks like it will also help me manage my mail better!

3. I use Microsoft Outlook at home for managing my email and Gmail everywhere else. This can be a bit of a pain as I have rules for things to go into folders, but they only work with my Outlook. Similarly my contacts are not always on both lists so I need to find a way of managing that as on several occasions, I have had trouble and not been able to find a contact which I know that I have added! Does anyone have any good suggestions for synthesizing these two programs?

4. Someone has mentioned that Evernote is also a great tool for searching and saving e-mail. I will investigate this in more detail later on.

I don’t think this will be the end of my email reflections as it is an on-going topic and one I can always get better at! I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to deal with email overload and plan to let you know my progress.

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4 thoughts on “Drowning in email – #anz23mthings 3

  1. Hmm – your inbox and life sound a lot like mine! Tks for the big tip re the Gmail inbox – I really like the sound of those tabs. Just wish I used Gmail more than I do so I could take advantage of it. Maybe it’s time to change my email address to a gmail address….oooh…change…..could I handle it????

  2. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up Post: Week 3 | ANZ 23 Mobile Things

  3. Pingback: The Octopus Librarian | #BlogJune: Looking back…

  4. Pingback: Email on the move | Kim's 23 Mobile Things

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