Anyone who’s digital deals with e-mail – LOTS of e-mail. Dealing with lots of e-mail generally means lots of time – time to review, sort, file and/or act upon each e-mail messages you receive in a given day.
Since I’ve been using e-mail and have had a personal e-mail capable device since 2001, here’s a few of my recommendations/observations:
- The first recommendation is to stop feeling like once you have access to e-mail on your personal mobile device, you have no choice but to always be connected to it. When BlackBerry devices first hit the scene, I saw otherwise sensible people become what I call very twitchy (always checking their devices like addicts). In fact, I recently learned that a large number of people leave their mobile devices on the nightstand and check it before they have even showered or otherwise “eased” into their day.C’mon!? Do you really need to be THAT connected?! As I said, I’ve had mobile access to e-mail since early in my VA career. I learned about Year 2 that if it’s really important, I’ll get a phone call. No call and there’s no need for me to worry that I’m “missing something”.
- Also in my experience, the longer you are using e-mail, the more e-mail (including spam) you will receive each day. This means unless you put into place a process or system for routinely dealing with e-mail, you will spend an increasing amount of time (with a correlating drop in productivity) just managing the incoming. Want a easy way to sort and cull through the 100′s if not 1,000′s of messages you get each day? Easy. Go to my www.legaltypist.com/D-A-F-T to download the .pdf or sign up for The Legal Connection E-zine on the right side of this blog to get it e-mailed to you. The .pdf is only 4 pages long, and explains with no geek speak, how to set yourself up to manage e-mail in a very easy and systematic approach. Once you learn D-A-F-T, it sticks – or as one person’s feedback stated: It just works!
- Only have one primary e-mail address and point and direct all things digital to that one address. I am andrea [at] legaltypist.com. This means I only have to administer, check and maintain one address. If I were to give myself a whole bunch of different e-mail addresses, I’d have to be on top of, track, respond to, save, follow up and store each one. With one e-mail address, I go through the D-A-F-T process. Done.
- Get a personal mobile device for reviewing the incoming, not performing the outgoing. I mean e-mails, texts and calls. Being able to review e-mail, when combined with my unified messaging account with Onebox, means I am on top of anything that needs my attention from where ever I happen to be standing (and getting a signal) 24/7. When you are aware of what is going on, you can plan out your next 24-48 hours. Many confuse being connected with being personally accessible. Just as in any business, it is up to you to draw the boundaries. The tech is there to make your life/work easier, not make you feel like you are tethered to your business no matter where you are.
- As for outgoing texts and e-mails let me point out the obvious – there’s not one personal mobile device out there with a full size keyboard built right in. Have you heard of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome? It’s when you experience repetitive stress injury in your wrists because you didn’t do as your typing teacher in high school taught you: feet flat on floor, back straight, head looking forward, eyes to what is being typed. Using your thumbs to type out anything but a quick sentence or two should be avoided.
Don’t let e-mail overtake your life! Use this wonderful tool wisely and it could lead to fortune, fame and riches – used the wrong way and e-mail can easily throw anyone into information overload.
Join me March 31, 2009 for E-mail Etiquette 101 – a 20 minute teleclass which helps busy, overworked and stressed out people learn how to effectively use e-mail in order to get more done with less – less time, less resources and less stress. Sign up here.