Sunday, August 22, 2010

Turning your post-vacation e-mail mountain into a manageable molehill

I have heard from more than one magazine person that they hate coming back from summer holidays to find a small mountain of e-mail messages; kinda spoils the bliss and reinstates the stress that you took a holiday from.
Canadian Fundraising & Philanthropy's online e-letter has published some tips gleaned from Fast Company magazine columnist Gina Trapani, the author of Upgrade Your Life,  for blasting through hundreds of unread messages and retaining your post-summer holiday mood.
  • Just because it was sent, doesn't mean you have to read it
  • If it's old and hasn't been added to or followed up, it probably doesn't matter anymore 
  • So, how to sort through the pile and save only what's necessary? 
    • Sort your messages by sender, use shift-click to select batches and press delete.
  •  And how do you deal with what's left? 
    • There are only two categories: things you can handle in two minutes or less; and the rest. For the former, sort your messages by date with the oldest first (that is, in ascending order). Start reading. If you can deal with it in two minutes or less, do so with a reply of no more than two lines. For the latter, set yourself a deadline  and reply to the person with a brief message such as "I'll get back to you about this by next Tuesday". Then put the item on a to-do list.



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