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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. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

  2. What a fine example of the best of the Hoosier tradition! How sad that the AP has to include partisan snark in the obit for this great American patriot and adventurer.

  3. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  4. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  5. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

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