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April 03, 2007

From One Extreme to Another

We get a lot of emails at work, as I'm sure many people do. I have 5 different clients. I get emails from the clients and then I get emails internally about these clients. Tons. As do my co-workers.

I am not the most organized person in the world. Actually, I'm probably on the far opposite side of organized. I don't file. I don't take notes very well and when I do, they are not organized in any fashion. At home, all important papers are piled rather than filed. I have 3 1/2 junk drawers.

My desktop on both my work computer and my home computer is cluttered with files; pictures, resumes, word documents, power point presentations, contracts, spreadsheets, etc.

However, there is one place that I am anally organized...and that is my email at work.

We use Lotus Notes at work instead of Microsoft Outlook. I'm not a huge fan. It does what it needs to do, but not my preference for my job. With Lotus, an email is marked as unread until you actually open it, not preview it in the preview pane.

I use my Inbox as my To-Do List. If it's in my inbox, it still needs to be done or followed up on. Once I have completed something or no longer need an email in plain view as a reminder, it gets filed in an email folder. I have about 20-25 folders. I have specific folders for people where their email does not pertain to a client. I have client specific folders and then sub folders for each client pertaining to different aspects of the relationship. I rarely ever have more than 20ish emails in my inbox. EVERYTHING is filed. People have looked over my shoulder and called me insane. Everyone else has 200+ emails in their inbox. And this is even with our emails automatically deleting after 45 days.

So if only the rest of my life was as easy to organize as my email.

Posted by Sissy at April 3, 2007 09:40 PM | TrackBack

I do the same thing. I have 6 different email accounts coming onto my desktop - I have different client emails coming in... I have folders galore (and I still need more as I need to classify some stuff better). But I seldom have more than 20 - 30 emails in my inbox. Also, if an email needs action, I keep marking it as "unread" so I don't forget to go back and do it.

One thing I don't do... I never use the preview pane - I hate it! Ever since it was the cause of virus spreading years ago... I got rid of it then, and never went back to it, even though that particular bug was fixed. Guess I'm unforgiving. *grin*

Posted by: Teresa at April 4, 2007 11:18 PM

I get inundated at work with email. Some of it is customers, some job related, and a lot is discussion email groups that I belong to - internal to the company. I have dozens of rules in Outlook to shift stuff automatically for the discussion topics and much of the automatic crap that I have to keep for a while a reference. On the average, I probably get about 250 emails a day - of which 50-75 hang in the Inbox until I deal with them. Like you, I keep them there until dealt with, with the perma-pack floating around 20.

The punch line? I don't have a lot of mail compared to some of my co-workers. A few years ago, my manager sent me to a very interesting class called 'Managing Action', which showed how to use Outlook to be more efficient.

First thing the instructor did was ask how many people had more than 20 emails in their Inbox.
- All the hands went up. (20 people)
Then she raised it to 200.
- About 14 still had hands up.
She raised it to 500.
- About 8 people still had hands up.
... and so on. Finally there was one lady left, and she had *gulp* 1600 emails in her Inbox. Of course, she had no folders, no rules, no organization at all. OMG!

Long story short - the folks who created that one day course are terrific. They do consulting and training (check out McGhee Productivity Solutions) and sell books on the 'Take Back Your Life' concept.

Posted by: Barb at April 6, 2007 12:36 AM