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Home > Blog > Help Wanted: Drowning in Good Email
Out of Our Minds
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 1:29 PM
Help Wanted: Drowning in Good Email
Anita Sharpe on Life

Virtually every night I shut my computer down with at least two dozen unread emails. This isn't spam -- all of it involves stuff I want to read. Eventually.

Most of the time, the emails require more thought than I have to spend at the time. I'm usually the queen of short responses --as in, 'yes,' 'no,' and 'thanks.' But too often, especially when someone takes the time to craft a thoughtful or personal note, that kind of reply seems rude. So the emails pile up and I can go a week (or more) without responding at all. Which, of course, is far ruder.

Does anyone else have this problem? Have you figured out a solution?



5 comments

anita - 4/14/2005 10:20:16 AM
I wish I had written this post a long time ago. These are great suggestions and I see help on the horizon.
Kate - 4/14/2005 10:15:57 AM
A method I got from David Allen's 'Getting Things Done:'

1) Answer everything that can be answered in less than two minutes the moment you finish reading it, then either file it or trash it.

2) Set up an e-mail folder called '@action' or ' -action.' This will pop up at the top of your folder list and contains items you need to handle yourself in more than 2 minutes.

When it's time (either purposely set aside or an unexpected gift of a cancelled meeting,) to 'do something,' you start there. This avoids trolling endlessly through your inbox to make sure you haven't forgotten whatever it was you needed to do.
anita - 4/13/2005 5:39:05 PM
The auto-response! That's a great idea that I only think about when I'm out of the office more than a couple days.
Nancy D. Solomon - 4/13/2005 5:33:45 PM
Anita,
Yes! You are not alone! My unread emails used to gnaw at me, threatening both my sanity and my integrity, not to mention my time. Now, when I'm particularly busy (which seems to be all the time), I put an automatic response on my server which tells my correspondents how glad I am that they took the time to write, that 'I'm busy managing my miracles' and that I'll be back to them within the week. They feel respected and important (which they are) and I feel like I'm the one setting my agenda, rather than my email dictating to me.
Nancy D. Solomon - 4/13/2005 5:33:16 PM
Anita,
Yes! You are not alone! My unread emails used to gnaw at me, threatening both my sanity and my integrity, not to mention my time. Now, when I'm particularly busy (which seems to be all the time), I put an automatic response on my server which tells my correspondents how glad I am that they took the time to write, that 'I'm busy managing my miracles' and that I'll be back to them within the week. They feel respected and important (which they are) and I feel like I'm the one setting my agenda, rather than my email dictating to me.

Nancy

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