Many executives, in corporations of all sizes, are wrestling with the abundance of communication coming in via E-Mail, and now with the unified communications in play, we are starting to receive our voice messages, faxes and other communications into our email applications.
What can be done to help you with your sanity in managing the Clutter Factor? The clutter factor is your Email Inbox. Stop and look right now! Do you have over 3000 messages in your inbox? Don’t know where to find that important piece of correspondence with a supplier or a client that could win you that very huge deal?
Help is out there. Many corporations use the Microsoft line of products for their day to day email. Microsoft Outlook 2003 is a powerful tool in managing all of your communications. Combined with Microsoft Exchange 2003, businesses today now have a complete solution for all of their communications and also the resources to manage email effectively.
oThe Microsoft Outlook Rules Wizard is a great way to manage your Email and route the messages to a specific folder or location so that you can review them at a later time or never. I have setup my Outlook so that all of my CC’ed messages are routed to a particular folder so that I can filter out those messages and allow me to concentrate on messages that are directly sent to me.
oFlags are another great resource in the Microsoft Outlook 2003 application. Flags can be setup inside Outlook using many different criteria. I use flags such as red for my urgent items, yellow for my not so urgent but still important, and green for those none urgent emails. When you sort your inbox with flags, the non-flagged messages are still sorted by Data/Time when they arrive.
oSpam mail is a huge problem for all organizations, no matter how big or small you are. I recommend the investment in a SPAM solution that allows you the end user to manage your own spam setting and not to rely on your system administrator to do this. IT Matters recommends solutions from SonicWALL to assist organizations of all size in managing the abundance of SPAM email. The most important area about SPAM management is to invest in a solution that does not deliver the SPAM messages to your mailbox. The best solutions out there will send you a single email daily that you can go through to manage your SPAM. This saves you time and productivity dollars for you and your entire team.
oUse your Executive Assistant – if you are lucky enough to have one! This person can reply back to your general inquiries for meetings, information and any other general information. This will allow you to focus on the serious business email and hand over the others that just eat up the majority of your time.
oFile your messages by using a logical approach on how your business works. For example if you work in sales, you may want to file your messages by Year, Month, Client, and Proposal. This way when you have a message from a client, you know where to find it later. This will save you time down the road when finding this critical client or other information. The new Microsoft Search Tool in Windows Vista and Office 2007 will make searching your Outlook even better.
oSend a copy of critical messages to business colleagues, clients, and any other recipients to yourself. This way you have a copy of your email you can file away without having to go through your sent items. With regards to your sent items, also file them away into a different folder every month so you can find that important piece of information down the road, when someone says to you “Yeah, you sent it to me in May”. You can now find it easily.
These are some basic tips that I have used to assist me in dealing with the clutter factor. Email clutter adds a tremendous amount of stress to the any executive, business person or sales representative. Managing your electronic mail will make you more effective and increase your productivity immediately. Stop drowning in all this clutter that is obscuring your view of the coastline.