Dont let digital demands bog you down: Organizing e-mails and voice messages
Its a typical Monday morning and, armed with a cup of strong coffee and a memo pad, I enter my office and prepare to begin my week. Theres a blinking red light on my phone, which means that I have received voice messages 15 of them, to be exact. Microsoft Outlook also informs me that I have 28 e-mails, including one from the makers of Rogaine (the hair is gray but I do have a full head of it), and another from Miss Cleo, informing me that Id better sign up for her psychic hotline to find out if my spouse is cheating on me. I reply to Miss Cleo (If youre so good why cant you predict the lottery!), delete the Rogaine ad and put the rest on hold so I can make my 9 oclock meeting. The phone is ringing as I leave the office. Thats a typical day and I dont even have a beeper or a cell phone!
According to a recent Gallup poll, the average executive receives 190 communications a day: 30 e-mails, 22 voice messages, four pager beeps, three express mailings, plus phone calls, letters and faxes. Most of us myself included feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of communications.
Im probably one of the most disorganized guys on campus; thats why when my editor asked me to do this story, I knew I needed help. Fortunately, I was able to contact Maria Gracia, an organizational guru and author of the book, Finally Organized, Finally Free. She offered some extremely valuable advice.
Gracia receives up to 150 e-mails a day and, since she conducts much of her business on-line, she cannot afford to lose track of them.
First of all, she suggests checking e-mails two or three times per day, at specific, set times. This does not mean checking them when youre on your way to a meeting, but at specified times when you can give them attention without distraction. Quickly preview the messages and scan them. Delete spam and anything you dont need immediately. Time spent on e-mail? A few seconds. each.
To purchase the full text of this article, click here…