You’re in the middle of an important, time-sensitive project. There’s only an hour to go before the presentation is due, and suddenly the familiar “ding” from the computer indicates you have an incoming email. To read or not to read: That is the question.
Today more of our personal and business mail arrives in the email inbox than the snail mailbox. According to about.com, 294 billion emails were transmitted over the Internet each day in 2010. A whopping 90 percent of all email is spam and junk mail, but the remaining 10 percent is sufficient to clog your inbox.
The Radicati Group <insert link> estimates that in 2013, business users can expect to see an average of 65 legitimate emails arrive in their inboxes every day. That is close to 24,000 emails a year, and the influx is only expected to increase.
How is an email user to tame such a beast? Some strategies work well for managing personal inboxes while others are best suited to business accounts. We asked two local business owners for tips on dealing with the daily email bombardment.
Mark Capell is a self-described email addict. The owner of CMIT Solutions, which offers computer training and troubleshooting to business and home computer owners, checks his email continually, even when he is on vacation. “Going off the grid is painful,” says Capell. He admits to feeling the urge to check his email even during our interview. A proponent of using folders to organize incoming email, Capell has set up rules that automatically route less important emails to separate folders. “That way they don’t interrupt me when I don’t want to be interrupted,” he says.
Linda Fava, the owner of Snow Peak Designs, a company that creates websites for small business owners, teaches people how to manage their Outlook inboxes as an independent instructor at COCC Community Learning.
Fava has a measured approach to taming the email monster. It’s all a matter of keeping a clean inbox. “Right now, I have 68 emails in my inbox. They are dated from the middle of January until today (the interview was conducted on Feb. 8). I read my emails and then I flag them to deal with them. Once I’m done, I mark the email as ‘completed.’ If I need to save the email for future reference, I move it into a specific client folder for storage.”
How you finally deal with the onslaught of emails depends on your own preferences. We asked Capell and Fava to list their favorite tips for keeping a happy, healthy mailbox. Click here to check out the list.