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Be Your Own Editor

This has nothing to do with grammar and punctuation but everything to do with cutting and deleting—in this case, reducing the amount of incoming. Add the following cutbacks to your information management diet and you will start seeing the results in a leaner in-box.

Unsubscribe to listservs, newsgroups, newsletters, and the like that you voluntarily signed on to receive but never read. Although you may have subscribed to such publications with the best of intentions, if they now serve only to clutter your in-box, forcing you to take time to delete them every time they are delivered, it is time to reverse your decision.

Warning: It is rarely as easy to get off an electronic mailing list as it was to get on it. But as with money, sometimes you have to spend time to make time. Follow the Unsubscribe links (they may be at the bottom, in small print) until you reach the end—that is, until you are off the list. Another option is to save a few weeks’ worth of these unwanted e-mails in a specially labeled folder and then assign the task of unsubscribing to another person. This could be an assistant, a temp you hire for half a day, your best friend’s teenager, or your own child. Be creative.

Cut back on cable. As with search engine “hits,” ask yourself: Is more better here? Do you just find yourself endlessly “channel surfing” for something decent to watch? Doesn’t it seem there is just more to avoid (such as infomercials)? Why not save time—and money—and cut the cable? Or at least go back to basics: Sign up for the fewest channels at the lowest cost.

Follow the Golden Rule. Do not send to others what you know you would not want to receive yourself. Simply, this means do not add to the information overload of others. Good information-management manners are catching: If you practice them, others will follow them.


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