Email Insanity: What’s the Problem?

Email: Do you love it… hate it… avoid it…tolerate it?

For most of us, email takes up a lot of our time – often 1/4 to 1/2 of our day. Are you like most people – do you have a stack of email sitting in your “in-box” – still requiring action, decision, or filing for later retrieval?

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.
– Isaac Asimov

Do you spend too much time on email? Are you checking email every hour (or more frequently) throughout the work day? If you’re like many people, checking email upon waking and before going to sleep, or spending Sunday evenings “catching up” on email in preparation for Monday – you might want to consider another approach.

Have you ever dreaded dealing with email because it means spending so much time wondering what to do with it all? First, you’ve got to scan and find the relevant information and eliminate extraneous and irrelevant data. Then, you have to figure out how to store the critical information buried within the email – so that you can easily find it later.

We weren’t born with these skills. And, the truth is we’re doing the best we can with the email skills that we have learned (usually self-taught). Most of us just don’t know an easier way. Employers rarely provide people with skills training in managing volumes of email and information requiring fast decisions, responses, actions, and results.

Email is can be your greatest productivity tool – or your greatest time-waster. It all depends on how you (and usually your co-workers) use it.

Email is not really the problem. How we handle it is.

The biggest problems people have with email:

• not knowing the best way for quickly processing & filing email for easy follow-up and retrieval.

• emails that are poorly written and organized making them difficult to read. Or, they contain incomplete or missing information, which then requires multiple email and communication loops (more email !) to clarify the original message.

• email addiction – checking emails as they arrive in your Inbox – leading to dozens (or hundreds) of daily (and often irrelevant) distractions.

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