getting control of email
The typical product manager sends and receives about 100 emails a day. Some have many, many more, so good email hygiene is a must. Use some smarts in managing your email and start being productive right away. Let's start the new year on the right foot by getting control of email.
In 4 Ways to Take Control of Your E-mail Inbox, Sally McGhee offers these tips.
The "Four D's for Decision Making" model (4 D's) is a valuable tool for processing e-mail, helping you to quickly decide what action to take with each item and how to remove it from the Inbox. Decide what to do with each and every message.
- Delete it
- Do it
- Delegate it
- Defer it
You should also learn to use filters or "rules" in Outlook jargon. Microsoft describes how in managing messages using rules. Some rules to consider:
- increase importance of emails sent only to me
- increase importance of email sent from my boss or admin
- move emails from a specific email account into another folder
- move emails when I am CC'd into a reference folder
- move emails related to a project to another folder
- reduce importance of emails with "RE:" in the title
(If you're using a Mac, you can also change the font and background color of the messages.)
When you're in the midst of a project, you can't get anything done if you're interrupted frequently. Consider using Out of Office replies even when you're in the office. So while you're heads-down, set up an Out of Office reply for your incoming emails. "I'm away from my desk and I'll get back to you in a few hours. Also check out my product information page, particularly the FAQs." A link to the appropriate page helps.
And one final tip: Email doesn't replace phone calls or meetings; it supplements them. When the thread gets more than two or three messages, pick up a phone and talk to the person or schedule a meeting for a bigger team discussion.
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