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Managing emails and time management


I've been trawling through the archives of Any Answers and found some useful stuff on managing emails. Does anyone have any additional hints and tips they would like to share? I am developing a one day time management programme and would like to include a session on managing emails and email etiquette.
Many thanks.
jennifer james

16 Responses

  1. Just a thought (or “two”)

    1. Show them how to determine how their e-mail list will be sorted (by name, date or whatever). In fact you might want to check if they know how to set up their display in the first place.

    2. Show them how to set up folders so they can strip out mails that can’t be dealt with on the spot. (I personally see this as a more manageable option than just archiving everything when I’m running out of space.)

    3. Make sure they know how to get hard copy versions of their messages if they need to (one of my colleagues recently avoided a very serious disciplinary action because he’d kept all the relevant e-mails).
    Make sure they can take simple printouts and/or copy messages to a permanent file on their machine (i.e. NOT within the mailing system).

    4. Make sure they know what limitations apply to their e-mails – What are the maximum incoming/outgoing message sizes? What size attachments can they send/receive? What is the maximum storage space? Are outgoing messages automatically copied and saved? Are there any kind of automatic housekeeping routines – if so, what are they?

    5. Show them how to optimise whatever junk mail protection they have.

    6. Instil in them a sense of the importance of clearing their e-mail down as soon as possible each day – dealing with and deleting whatever can be dealt with and filing the rest. Point out that this keeps the list down to a minimum and only shows the most recent mails, for greater efficiency.

    7. Make sure they know how to turn the “incoming message” sound and icon on and off.

    8. Get them to think about how they will best deal with their e-mail. Will they handle each new message as in comes in (make sure “incoming message” indicator(s) is/are ON), or will they check their mailbox at fixed intervals during the day (good plan for busy people) – or whenever they have a spare moment (bad plan for busy people) – (turn indicator off).

    Hope this is the sort of thing you were looking for.

  2. an anecdote-not what you asked for but relevant
    I was working with a group from a motor manufacturer and I asked how many emails they got a day and how did they manage them. One guy replied that he got about 60 a day and that he managed them quite simply; he looked at who had sent the email and if it came from someone who didn’t “outrank” him or was from a “flower arranging” department, he just deleted it rather than reading it. I asked what “flower arranging” meant.
    His answer was “I design cars; design and manufacture of cars is our business, anything else, consumer affairs, HR, accounts, marketing, is all “flower arranging”, it just isn’t worth paying attention to!

    I threw him to the delegates from the other departments.

  3. Email Management
    Paul Jupp covered this exceptionally well. I’d like to add a couple of other items.

    Encourage people to use template files where practicable and effective (In Outlook they are *.OFT files), encourage use of automatic responses to deal with routine mail eg, I use autoresponses to supply recruitment documents and it saves me considerable time.

    Finally, if you have Blind Carbon Copy facility, there are times when it is prudent to use it rather than broadcast everyone’s email address. (I have a PDF document about blind carbon copies and privacy if anyone would like a copy. Email me at [email protected])

  4. BCC & Private
    Robin, I would be interested in a copy of your PDF file, I tried your e-mail address quoted but my message was rejected saying there was no yahoo account for that name.My address is [email protected]


  5. Prioritising emails
    a few ideas….

    1. Colour code incoming emails from important clients/contacts(easily done within Outlook 2000) or get them redirected to their own folders so they are filed automatically.

    2. Set up a rule so emails that are addressed solely to the recipient (ie noone else has received that email) display in one colour so you know that it’s an action only you are being asked to perform.

    3. I setup rules so any emails sent to my primary contacts are filed back in that customer folder within my email so everything is in the right place and easily accessible.

    4. Finally have a folder called actions for those emails you have read and not yet actioned, and one for items to chase – ie you’ve responded and not had an answer back.

    Hope this helps.

    [email protected]

  6. managing emails
    I agree with Paul Jupp, especially about using folders, it makes things so much easier to rediscover your mail if you need to, and helps in keeping the immediate messages down

    Another tip is to have two email addresses (one for important, eg business-related stuff, and another for friends and family. If you give the latter on any website that asks you to give an email address, then you should be able to keep your important address relatively junk free too

    Best regards

    Sallie Phillips
    Freelance Training Services(using my friends and family address)

  7. Filter, filter and filter
    My experience to date (I get across my various mailboxes at least 50 e-mails a day) is to know how to filter into folders.
    Whilst it’s not too difficult to set them up to catch the obvious ones, some cunning is needed to catch the more obnoxious unsolocited ones.
    Also, correct sorting inside the folders can lead to the opportunity to delete a bunch of e-mails of the same topic
    Then it’s the three Ds (do it, delegate it or dump it).

  8. Email Quiz
    I run a half-day training session on Lotus Notes (our company email) and warm up by using an email quiz, which I can sent to you if requested. It includes etiquette and good email practice.

    Helen Palmer
    [email protected]

  9. BCC e-mail
    If you cover BCC (as already suggested) you ought to cover Data Protection issues. For example if using e-mail for marketing purposes always use BCC so that you do not reveal your clients’/potential clients’ names and e-mail addresses to each other. See for detailed information.

  10. E-mail etiquette course
    We provide an e-learning course in e-mail etiquette which I would be happy to let you take gratis. It takes 4-6 hours to do the course properly, but you could skim it for ideas. It is part of a curriculum in e-business essentials that we normally customize for enterprise-wide implementation. Just drop me an e-mail (minding your etiquette) to let me know if you are interested and I’ll have a password set up for you.

    Godfrey Parkin
    [email protected]

  11. Best Practice
    We encourage our users to think of the communication pyramid – speak to someone face to face; leave them a voice mail; only if these two aren’t practical send an e-mail.

    Educate desk based users in how best to communicate with field based users e.g. if you want a quick response, ring them!

    The other tip our users find helps increase their efficiency is to prefix the title with ACTION, URGENT or FYI – our e-mail program does have symbols to denote some of these but most of us struggle to remember what they mean. We also use DNO = Do Not Open and type a brief message in the subject field.

  12. Another suggestion
    All grest suggestions.

    I especially agree with Amanda. It is better to communicate with people face to face or on the phone sometimes. Email can be easily misconstrued and impersonal.

    Having said that, email can be used if you are communicating with constant liars. I was instructed by my manager, when emailling was in its infancy, to send emails to certain people after communicating with them on the phone and to Carbon Copy my manager. That way he could support me if there were any fraudlent claims after the original phone conversation. It is time consuming, boring and suspicious but it has saved me from many an awkward situation created by a constant liar.

    Also, when I trained people in email usage we covered:
    Flame wars
    and Legalities

    I always saved articles from the newspapers about email abuse for discussion. Most people still do not realise how email is constantly being utilised in court cases and instant dismissals.

    This made training sessions interesting and allowed for ‘juicy discussions’.

    Hope that this helps

  13. Email Security

    An important aspect to stress is email security, because email is a very common way in which viruses etc. are spread and cause problems. There is an excellent introduction to the whole subject of computer security at:
    In particular, it’s important that people do not open email attachments from anyone until they have first been virus-scanned. And that if the source of the email is not known, they seek advice.




  14. Hints and Tips on E-mail
    You are welcome to have a look at the document ‘Tips and Hints: Using E-Mails’ in the free trainer resources section of – in the ‘Communication and Influencing Skills’ section.
    Happy Days!
    Bryan Edwards

  15. 10 commandments
    I recently picked up this 10 commandments of email on a report writing course, which is quite good and would be happy to let you have a copy
    email me if you want acopy
    [email protected]


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