Stories from the trenches

Time management?

I sent an email to my team before Christmas letting them know in 2008, I was only checking email at 11 am and 3 pm each day. So if the matter is urgent please call. Sure enough a colleague set up a conference call today at 11 am. I didn’t know about because I hadn’t check email! Ugh. There has to be a better way.

Herewith an excerpt from a recent article about time management that resonated. The stats and research are real eye-openers.

Get a handle on email: Are you being emailed to death? I know sometimes I feel I am. Indeed, lately it seems like I send and receive email for a living, and that is not a good thing at all.

Apparently I am not alone. Check out these statistics I recently read:

• 66% of people not only read email every day, most also expect a response the same day.

• 41% of us check e-mail first thing in the morning.

• 61% of us check it while on vacation.

• “Crackberry” was named the 2006 Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary New Word of the Year.

Here’s my favorite email stat: In 2005, a psychiatrist in London gave IQ tests to three groups: The first group was distracted by e-mail and ringing phones, the second was stoned, and the third was the control group with no impediments.

Of course the third group scored the best on the IQ test. But the surprise is that the stoners did better than the e-mailers by an average of 6 points. Now that’s sobering.

So just how do you get a handle on email? Here are a few ways:

• Get a good, nay great, anti-spam program. This saves so much time it is amazing. Personally, as the last one I had ended up flagging a good 10% of legitimate emails as spam, I spent just as much time sorting through the spam folder. What a joke.

• Set aside time, once or twice a day, to handle email, and stick to it. And no, not everything needs an immediate response.

• Outsource it. There are plenty of services that can sort though and deal with a lot of your email and prioritize the rest.

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