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Are you a slave to your email?

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Does it seem like you can’t live without email? Do you find yourself constantly checking your Blackberry to see what you received? Do you check your email every 30-60 minutes or even less? I often wonder how I ever did business without it. My phone hardly rings since all my clients prefer email.{{more}} As effective and efficient as email has become, it is also quite a burden and a greedy time-wasting animal that needs taming. We all have bad email habits. In order for this business tool to really serve you well, you must control it. Do not let it control you!

Do you check your personal email at least 3-5 times per hour? If you do, you are addicted to a time waster. If you get excited when you hear that little bell chime saying “you’ve got mail”, you need an adjustment. Designate time first thing in the morning to go over all the emails you receive overnight. Then close your email program and designate a few other time slots throughout the day when you check your mail, answer as needed, and then close the program.

Do you use folders? Not all the emails you receive are important. Create folders for people you receive email from on a regular basis. Maybe it’s your clients, incoming orders or receipts. You pick the category. Folders can be created if there are certain words in the subject line or the body of the email. Think about how you can sort them.

Delete the junk. Do you have people who send you those horrible chain emails, nasty jokes or prayers? They declare that if you don’t send something back, bad luck will happen to you. Don’t forget those money scams. They claim you can receive a small fortune just by helping some poor widow or child access funds their dear departed parent or spouse left them. All you need to do is give them a few hundred or thousand dollars, and you will get millions in return. They are all scams, many originating in Africa with mailing addresses or cash pick-up points in Europe. Just hit the delete button—don’t even open them since they may contain viruses!

How many newsletters do you receive? Designate a folder just for newsletters. Everyone has an online newsletter. My company does, but you can’t read them all (make sure you read ours!). Again, designate a newsletter folder and read them at a later date.

Is your Inbox emptied daily? At the end of the day, try to attain that goal. When email comes in, read, file, act or delete. If you don’t, your inbox will overflow with messages from a year ago which you have not addressed.

Are you a repeat reader? If you have emails that you constantly reread but do nothing about, stop that. READ ONCE, and then decide what your course of action is for that email.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to info@workplacesuccess.com
Visit online at www.workplacesuccess.com

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