Is it possible to organize your electronic mail? SURE Here are a few tricks that can help get things organized and save a little time.
Every email system has its own bells and whistles (functions) but basically all of them to the same things. For instance, all of them can sort things by date, by subject, etc. What is the first thing readers see? The subject line. A subject line can be formatted to help you quickly identify priority action items.
1 Make the subject line interesting and unique enough to make the reader want to see more and make it stand out from other similar messages. This will help the reader when they get the message and the sender when they get the reply.
BEFORE Staff meeting 8 am
AFTER We're #1! Let's celebrate at the 8:00 staff meeting
Sorting out the important stuff. Typically, there are several ways to sort information--even email messages. Most often messages are sorted so that the newest message is first or by the sender’s name, but there are other ways to sort data such as the subject line. To start the process, set up the subject line in the message you will be sending. The format will hold, unless edited, as a default when replying. Two examples follow formatting the subject line for sorting by a business name or by a priority marker:
LUCKY YOU (Business): New Furniture (topic)—Your order was shipped! (attention grabber).
CRITICAL (Priority) Project Saturn (topic)– Can’t find the keys to the rocket? (grabber)
When the subject line is sorted, all of the mail related to ‘Lucky You’ or ‘CRITICAL’ messages clump together. All of the various projects under that Business/priority also clumps together.
The same kind of sorting algorithm used elsewhere on your computer applies and can be really handy in retrieving data regardless of location. One trick is to add a symbol at the beginning of the data like an explanation mark (e.g., !CRITICAL: Project Saturn) which typically forces these file names and subject lines to the top of most alphanumeric type of sorts.
2 Keep all of the mail related to an active project where you can easily find it; archive it when it is done. Keeping active information so that it is close at hand works in the paper and electronic worlds. It is possible to save email in one place along with your documents, maps, balance sheets, etc. in one file directory (file drawer). Further organization in that directory is also useful so every file related to budget, for instance, is filed under budget rather than filing thousands of email messages in one ginormous directory.
3 Limit how often you use “Reply All.” It is easy to get overwhelmed by mail, and each of us most likely has a different threshold for that amount. One thing that can greatly increase the amount of email is the overuse of ‘Reply All.’ Generally, the option “Reply All” is rarely needed, but it is easy. Most of the time it just irritates busy people and often wastes time. Routine, improper use of any tool can create problems. Sometimes there are legal reasons to use this or distribution problems that make sense. Let the use make sense and everyone is OK.
4 Consider a phone call. This might seem old fashioned but sometimes email is not the best communication tool. It often fails to convey emotion. It may take a lot of time to edit the message especially if the topic is complicated. Email records and remembers your words and some words just shouldn’t be remembered.
Business Retention& Expansion
Entrepreneurs often wear at least 27 hats and have to do many tasks to make a business succeed. Email processing can be one of those hats and take an extraordinary amount of resources out of an already packed schedule!