With help from Energized Solutions LLC

Spring is the time of year when the weather becomes nice enough that we can open the windows, air out the house, and clear out the clutter that has accumulated over the winter months. In an increasingly digital age, we must also consider cleaning out our email inboxes.

Email is a tool that allows people to expedite communication and share information at unprecedented speeds. The effectiveness of email, however, depends upon a user’s ability to efficiently use the technology. Email should be used to assist with work and not be the work.

The time we spend going through emails adds stress and extra work to our daily routines. Instead of playing catch-up with email all the time, there are several proactive practices that can be used to increase the email productivity.

Kathleen Alessandro is a productivity expert and president of Energized Solutions in Dearborn, Mich. She offers these suggestions to increase email productivity, allowing you to spend more time doing what you need to do instead of playing catch-up on emails.

    1. Keep your inbox manageable. When you get new emails, reply or forward if necessary and then delete or archive the email. Only leave “active” emails in your inbox.
    2. Set aside time everyday to remove items that are no longer active from your inbox.
    3. Get to the point. Sending short, clear messages without the fluff means you can get through messages more quickly. Tell your colleagues to do the same.
    4. Put the message in the subject line. This makes finding and acting upon messages faster.
    5. Use a full signature with all of your current contact information. This reduces the time it takes following up on messages.
    6. Use folders. Label folders so you can easily sort, find, and manage your projects.
    7. Create a casual reading folder. Place all of your electronic newsletters or mass updates in this folder. If you know where they are, you can come back to them when you have time.
    8. For email strings, use a concise and relevant subject line. This makes sorting and following-up easier for all parties involved.
    9. Think before hitting “Reply All.” Most times, not everyone needs to know every little detail and it just adds to overall email clutter.
    10. Do not send “inspirational” emails or other forwards to work accounts. Enough said.

About The Author

MJ Paradiso is the business editor of Blast Magazine.

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