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Start Page: Follow 5 email commandments to streamline use

Kim Brand
April 11, 2012
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Kim BrandYou are an email sinner. Email distracts you at the office and interrupts your family time at home. You are spending more and more time searching for missing messages. The clutter in your inbox rivals the chaos on your desk.

These are the five email commandments that can turn your email messaging life around. They aren’t easy to follow, but they will lead you to a better, more productive place. Consider this: you’ll be using email for a very long time – you should be good at it.

Process email at most four times a day. If possible, delegate your inbox to an assistant so they process incoming messages for you. This will allow you to focus on what is important and what to do next. A report by CNN claimed that frequently checking your email lowers your IQ.

File messages and attachments into project folders. Get messages out of your email program as fast as you can and into plbrand-tip-041312.gifaces where they can be shared and organized. Don’t let your email program become a silo where only a portion of a client’s or case’s information is stored apart from other documents, spreadsheets, etc. Put it all in one place. Don’t forget to file ‘sent’ messages, too!

Practice basic email hygiene

Use a signature block with your phone number, fax and alternate contact information so people can reach you by other means than email.

Avoid “Reply to All” – embarrassing consequences are far too frequent.

Never reply to a message when you are angry.

Skip “FYI,” “OK,” and “Got it,” replies that simply add clutter to an already cluttered system.

Avoid using your professional email address for personal communications.

Don’t “hijack” subjects: keep an email message on topic; create a new message if necessary.

Use BCC: to distribute a generic message to a large group. Your address book may contain contact information a friend or business partner may prefer not to share.

Invest time to develop your email skills. Create rules for email processing and let your email program do the work. Aspire to become an email ninja by watching tutorial videos on YouTube, using the “Help” system or asking a friend to demonstrate an advanced skill. Shaving a few seconds off processing each message can save you days by the end of the year.

Employ an email system that gives you access from anywhere: office, smartphone, web or home, but presents a consistent brand-google-factbox-041312.gifview. If you delete, send or file a message on one device the action should be reflected on the others.

The state of the art in email delivery means you should not be bothered by more than a few spam messages a day – if you are, change your email provider. Email is best suited to short subjects that can be digested in a few seconds. If your message doesn’t fit on one screen consider sending it by postal mail, as an attached PDF, or a fax. (Never send a .doc file!)

While email makes it convenient to send all kinds of attachments, be aware that many systems limit the size or type of attachments that can be delivered. A client’s email system recently broke down after a message with a large attachment was distributed to every employee. Mail servers are like any other computer: they need storage space to operate and depend on backups to protect information. Both of those resources are strained by carelessly using email as a digital dump truck.

Finally, protect the safety and security of your email by placing a strong password on every system or device you use to send or receive email. Much of your life is now threaded through the electronic messages you share with friends and business partners – all of it is in your inbox. And if your email is important to you or your business, make sure it is protected by backing it up regularly. The pain of the loss of all your email may not approach that of a loved one, but it can sure make you feel sick.•

__________

Kim Brand is a technology expert, author and president of Computer Experts, Inc. For a free Audio CD on email management send a note to: Kim@ComputerExpertsIndy.com or call 317-833-3000. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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