Thursday, 24 May 2012

Email chaos

Do you sometimes get the feeling that your work life is getting overrun with emails and email management? I remember when I was doing my library visits at uni, some librarians talked about what they do as librarians, and I remember that checking, replying to and managing emails was a significant part of this particular librarian’s day. Answering email reference and library queries from patrons is something that I love doing, but sometimes the non-query emails really start piling up, and a lot of it is stuff that you may not necessarily need.
I didn’t realise quite how much email I get, until I got back from a 4 week trip overseas. There was SO much mail! And that was even after I’d created filters for all of the email distribution lists that I’m subscribed to, so I didn’t have to inflict them all on my colleague, who had kindly agreed to check my emails, while I was away.
Luckily, a lot of the mail was stuff that I could just delete, after a quick glance over it (but the amount of time it takes to do that really adds up!)
The final straw was when I logged on to go back through some old emails that I’d left before I went away, only to find that the folder I’d created and moved all of my ‘before leave’ emails into had completely DISAPPEARED. Aargh!!!! Luckily, a wonderful person from IT managed to locate them download them, and then import them back into my Outlook (phew! Crisis averted!). They had somehow managed to move themselves into an invisible folder that you needed a third party program to locate- who knew? And I still don’t know how they managed to make themselves invisible…  Because I had a lot of emails that I hadn’t gotten around to filing before I went away, it took ages to re-import them back in but it did take him a couple of hours, playing around on my computer to work it out.
So the lessons I’ve taken away from this somewhat frustrating experience?
1.       Minimise the amount of emails that you get by playing around with your junk filter settings.
2.       Try to deal with every email, as soon as possible by filing it into an appropriate folder if you want to keep it, or deleting it as soon as you’ve read it.
3.       Re-evaluate all of the email distribution lists that you’re on- do you really need to be on that many? Take some time to unsubscribe to all of those lists that you don’t need.
4.       Dedicate time before you go away to tidy up your inbox, otherwise it will be more work when you get back!
5.       Only keep the emails in your inbox that have an active status, or that you’re waiting on someone to reply back to you.  As soon as they reply back, or you deal with the issue, delete or file the original email.
Keeping on top of my email is a constant battle, and with these good intentions and with these great tips from fellow committee member, Vikki, which you can read here, I hope to be able to get my email back under control! Now to get back to those emails in my inbox…
If you have any other useful tips for managing email, please feel free to share!
-          Crystal

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