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Lesson 12. Writing E-Mail > Techniques for Reducing Clutter - Pg. 54

Writing E-Mail 54 Techniques for Reducing Clutter Most of the topics discussed so far concern how you can ensure that your e-mail doesn't add to the clutter in other people's mailboxes. Unfortunately, this doesn't immediately solve the problem of how to deal with the clutter in your own mailbox. While much of that clutter can only be controlled by getting the senders to change their e-mailing habits, there are a few things you can do on your own to "clean up" your mailbox and make your handling of e-mail more efficient and effective. The most powerful tool available to you is the option on most e-mail programs to automatically sort your mail according to instructions you provide. If you don't know how to access this capability, try to get instruction from someone who does, or if the program is publicly available (such as Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express), find a book explaining its features. When you know how to use the sorting capability, you can use it to ... · Sort messages based on who they are from. Thus, for example, you can put messages from your subordinates in one folder, and those from your boss in another. Since I use my e-mail address for both business and personal mail, I have my mail program sort messages from friends and family into a separate folder, enabling me to read those at my leisure. · Sort messages based on the topic in the subject line. Suppose, for example, you regularly re- ceive messages from one person regarding two different projects. For one of these projects, you have an active role, and must make daily decisions based on the information you receive. For the other project, however, your role is advisory, and you do not need to be as up to date on the issues associated with that project. In this case, you could sort messages into folders based on the project being discussed, and be sure to read all messages concerning the first project im- mediately. · Copy messages to several folders based on content. I have a colleague with whom I work on