Wednesday, July 23, 2008


It happens throughout the day. Every weekday.




13. Yikes.

That's me and my friend Jim, the IT guy. IM'ing our inbox status to each other.

A while back, when we worked together, we decided to clean out our e-mail in boxes for good and vowed to keep them neat, well-managed and nearly empty at all times.

These daily status reports? The E-mailers Anonymous equivalent of checking in with my sponsor.
Have you tried this?

Organizational experts recommend it. But you don't need some high-priced anal retentive freak when you have yours truly, bargain basement anal retentive freak.

If you're like me, you use your e-mail in box as a to do list. Which is great, until you accumulate about a shmillion e-mails and the shit hits the fan.

Here are the rules. When you get an e-mail, read it and then:

1) Reply
2) Delete, or
3) Move to sub folder

If you can't act on it right away, keep it in your in box. But no longer than three days.
You've done it. Grown old searching for that one elusive e-mail. Could be in trash. Could be in your in box.

Sort by sender. Nope. Did I reply? I replied. Check sent items. What was the subject? Sort by subject. Nope, not there either.

And of course Microsoft's e-mail search is about as useful as a three inch cock on a cold day. Or any day, for that matter.

Sub folders are the key.

You're not deleting important e-mails, you're just filing them away, like you would important documents.

I have sub folders for practically everyone at work, plus alliances, competitors, public relations, research, speaking opportunities, and vendors. I create sub folders for every campaign, promotion or event.

And when someone asks for that e-mail about that one thing from that one person, I'm ready.
One dude actually declared e-mail bankruptcy.

If you have more than 500 unread e-mails in your in box, it's a good idea.

Who I am being rude to today? What did I forget to do? Who's gonna throw me under the bus because I never responded?

It sucks. It's stressful. And so unnecessary.

Ever since I cleaned out my in box and started proactively managing my e-mails, I'm less stressed. More organized. More focused.

And it's so satisfying, the days when I can say "ZERO!"
I am listening to: Gromit sleeping
I am reading: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
And I am: Up to 7, but working on it


Susan said...

My name is Susan Snippets and I have an email addiction!

I hear you LOUD & CLEAR, Hedy!

Thank you for writing today - just for me.


Posolxstvo I said...

I don't / can't act that way. I have three different views into my inbox -- my phone, web interface, and outlook. And I only file emails into folders in Outlook.

My problem is if I file something away, it is out of sight, out of mind, so I have to keep an external To Do list.

And I have to say that I am pleased with the Outlook email search function -- but I am using version 2007 and it is the first version that the search has been of any real use to me. I have archived emails dating back to 1999, believe it or not, and everyone comes to me because they know I can lay my hands on that ONE email in minutes.

Anonymous said...

Now that's thinking outside the email box!
Four Inches in any kind of weather!

Dave said...

Got to go with Pos on this one. I've got over 2K in the inbox and 3K in the sent box. No need to take the time to create and move stuff to a subfolder. Vista actually has a very good search function. A keyword or two and I'm at the Email I want.

Moe Wanchuk said...

I think people take the email thing way too far. I love technology, but wtf.....does ANYONE talk to ANYONE anymore? Seems like our social skills are imploding.

It's the same way in my biz.....I get into fights with customers over IM. It's a fkn joke. AND, it's very interesting how big people's balls are when they're emailing or IMing. Get them on the phone or get them face to face and it's a very different story.

Hedy said...

I dunno guys, there's something about an empty in box that makes me smile. And as for the out of sight/mind thing, if I'm done with an email there's no reason not to file it. Now if I could just get Gromit to stop sending me porn, I'd be all set.

Brian said...

Good point Moe regarding the balls people have with IM or e-mail. Hedy makes some good recommendations to get our work day back on track. I've been on vacation for a week, but checking friggin e-mail when I had access to my computer. WTF, can't ever get away from the office and the hundreds of e-mail messages I now have to dig through on Monday morning. It'll take at least two hours to determine which messages are worthy of my time.

Anonymous said...

Are you ever going to write in your blog again???