Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

poor email, and its undeserved bad rap

I’ve long held the opinion that people who fret and wring hands and struggle over managing their inordinate volume of email, puzzle me.
I mean, I’m old enough that I was an early adoptee of email.  I’ve long belonged to all kinds of mailing lists, and I make use of things like RSS to ‘push’  me information.  And I once worked for one of the largest companies in the world (think three letters) where I assure you email is heavily leveraged.

So in other words, I know all about heavy inflow of mail.

But I love the medium.  Love it for its efficiency.  Prefer it over all other mechanisms (except face to face, of course.)  And I’ve never once pulled my hair out over “handling” the inflow.

I made this kind of comment the other day on a LinkedIn answer page, and someone responded “you should write a book.”  Well, its not lengthy enough to warrant a book, but I thought the concept was a good idea.

So here’s the guide, to solve all your email challenges :^)

  1. Decide if you’re really a multi-tasker, or not.  Meaning, either resolve yourself to needing ‘dedicated’ email time (most people), or not (the minority) – meaning you can handle ‘alt-tabbing’ over to your email client briefly as mssg’s arive.  [If you’re in the minority, you likely don’t even need this guide to begin with — you already handle email with ease.]  But if you don’t want to briefly check mssg’s as they arive, then this doesn’t mean you can go days and days without it.  That just won’t work.  Accept it; stop fighting it.  And say ok each day from x o’clock to y o’clock I’m going to go through email — and frankly as you’ll see in next step that should take up 1 hr. a day, max.
  2. Each email once you dedicate time to go through, should take no more than a few seconds to browse (if that).  And then it quickly falls into one of 3 — and only 3 — buckets:
    – Needs/requires no response
    – Warrants a short, easy, few-seconds response
    – Requires an in-depth response
    If one is being honest with themselves, they have to admit that most will fall in the first bucket, some will fall in second, and the fewest will fall in the third.  Don’t beleive me? Take a representative sample of your own mail, and analyze the data.
  3. For the first one, you don’t have to do anything (obviously).  So great! Delete or Archive it away, out of Inbox.
  4. For the second, and this is the key, go ahead and quickly respond.  And then Delete or Archive it away, out of Inbox.  Too many people here make the mistake of fretting that they’re “too busy” to respond — even when all it would take would be a sentence or two — and then rush back to whatever else they’re doing, only to then be lamenting at the end of the week on how full their inbox is.
  5. For the third, ‘star’ it in some way.  And come back to these (relatively few) at a designated time that is set aside for just these — which afterall are now the only ones that will be there if you’ve been following the method consistently.  Maybe that’s a 2-3 hr. window once a week, or some similar interval.

So one can see that with this methodology, your inbox stays lightweight.  Now does it require a persistent repeatable approach? Yes.  Email is an enterprise tool.  See it as such, and leverage it with the dedication it deserves.  If you can’t/won’t do that, then yes you too will be seen as one of the unorganized people who can’t manage email (and hey that’s ok, I’m sure there’s worse things, ha ha).  But a persistent approach such as the above will yield productivity gains, and let you keep some of that hair you’ve been pulling out.

All too familiar

An appropriate (unfortunately) piece, for professionals in mourning these days…

‘Microhoo’

I agree with The Business Pundit’s take on the MS-Yahoo deal — mostly.   At the end of the day software functionality will always win out. (And I’ve really been impressed with Bing.)

But search advertising is HUGE. One doesn’t have to “win”, to still add major $ to the bottom line.  A 45% market share, with Google still having the majority, for instance, would be phenomenal.

Well, well, well….

I thought only ‘evil Microsoft’ did exclusionary, proprietary, bad things like this?

(BTW, I finally got a Google Voice account, and love it…)

Rational announcement

My former company, IBM Rational, announced a new acquisition today — Ounce Labs.  I’m not familiar with their products directly, but sounds like they do testing of static source code similar to what AppScan does for dynamic sites.  AppScan was seen as a pretty successful acquistition, so not surprising, really.

Meanwhile this blog entry attempts to put it in a larger context…

Hello world!

Welcome all!  Wanting to try the blog thing once more, this time on WordPress…