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Weblog Pieter Gheysens
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Wednesday, May 3

Overloaded inboxes

Back at work after my 3-weeks honeymoon I was faced with overloaded inboxes (email at work, email at client, private email). The problem of email overload is taking a toll on our precious time and productivity because most of us lack a cohesive system for processing emails and converting them into appropriate actions.

Attaining ZEB - a nice acronym for an empty inbox (Zero Email Bounce) - is crucial in my effort to gain control over all my messages. I only move (or delete) a message to a dedicated folder when work for that message is done. Work can be a quick reply, a meeting request, a phone-call, a new task in my task-list, ... Having an empty inbox doesn't mean that all tasks are done, but it means that I know at least what my tasks are!

One thing I would like to add next time when I have no access to my account for a longer period, is a more clear flagging system. When I have for example more than 500 messages in my inbox, I want to see immediately which messages could be important and need my attention first. Outlook 2003 introduced colored follow-up flags for users to categorize their emails. Setting different flags when messages arrive can be easily done with the Rules Wizard in Microsoft Outlook 2003. Key is the definition of an important message!

Nowadays we don't have to worry about finding back a particular email because we can rely on software like Windows Desktop Search and Google Desktop Search, but it's certainly a good practice to store/archive your emails in dedicated folders when you move them from your inbox.

1 Comments:

  • At 7:04 PM, Anonymous David Boschmans said…

    Pieter, after having enjoyed your honeymoon it's time to give 2007 Office System a try! The flagging, categorizing, etc experience has been greatly improved! Check the BetaExperience!
    -David

     

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