How to Achieve Email Efficiency – Part 1

In the virtual world we live in these days, it’s not just physical material clutter that needs to be organized but also all your electronic presences and activities. Instead of keeping things for until the holidays (when you know for a fact you will not get things done) or the New Year (when new ideas take precedence over old ones), give yourself a head-start and set things up for posterity by working on your online doppelganger right away.

The last quarter of the year is a good time to implement new habits so you can continue to practice them into the New Year. It is true that most of our work these days, be it personal, professional, social, financial or relating to any other aspect of our lives, is dominated by the electronic universe. As much as your productivity lies in it, so does your inefficiency. Most man-made creations are utilitarian but they can also be a bane.

Learn to harness the boon of an electronically dominant lifestyle by putting these actions into place and saving the time to focus on more integral tasks and responsibilities after the holidays.

1. The easiest way to track all your electronic presences is simply to get onto Google and search for your name. This will at least pull up the websites that you have been most active on lately and you can simply make a list of them to review and consider which ones you would still like to be active on and which ones you would like to get out of. Also try a combination with your name and current city as that might pull up more relevant links. 2. As a rule of thumb, try to stick to maybe 5 websites that you use personally and maybe another 5 professionally. Beyond this would be just way too many websites to handle efficiently for you to accomplish your goals. 3. For the websites that you do choose to stick with, either choose an online password tracker or create a password protected document on your computer or phone where you can save all your usernames and passwords for future reference. Most times 5-10 minutes are lost trying various permutations and combinations for passwords we don’t remember, and then a further 5 minutes lost when you have to send a ‘forgot password’ message to the website and wait for their confirmation and so on and so forth. See how easily you could be wasting minutes of precious time here? 4. For the websites you choose to stay away from, you can easily delete your account usually by simply heading to the account settings and clicking the ‘delete account’ tab. Just remember that any information you have saved there will be permanently removed and there are zero chances of recovery so save anything you deem necessary before this crucial step. 5. It is possible that some websites you are visible on are simply directories you choose to be present in but don’t necessarily need to be active in. These may also be websites that duplicate content or have link backs from other websites that mention your name. Make a list of these anyways to ensure you always know where people are getting your information from or how they connect with you. 6. Remember that almost all websites that you use for email do have POP settings you can enable so all your emails come into one email account. This helps save time over logging into multiple email accounts for checking specific emails and having all those unnecessary windows open all the time. 7. Keep an active watch out for newsletters that land in your Inbox. Don’t just delete them to have them come back again! Take the time to go ahead and unsubscribe from them now so you don’t have to deal with them again. Most will have you taken off the list immediately, but some will take a few days. If you see a newsletter coming in despite having unsubscribed, you can complain to the service provider or mark it as ‘spam’ so that way you will not have to deal with it again. Read your newsletter right away and delete it after taking away the pointers you want and jotting them down on your notes. Creating a folder to save these newsletters is a big mistake. You will never get to them or if you do try to read them at one stretch, you will lose out on the takeaways. 8. Go ahead and take a look at your address book just as well. You will be amazed how many non-functioning duplicate email addresses you find for your contacts. You might have actually been using these all the time and picking your brains as to why they never seem to receive any communication you send. Ensure your address book cleanup also means you update other details there like contact phone number and address so you can easily access a number to reach them at and you don’t have to go around asking for mailing addresses when you want to send out those holiday cards. 9. Much as we don’t use this functionality, making lists of your contacts is a very helpful and efficient tactic. Some apt headings for groups your contacts can fall into include family, friends, colleagues, business associates, acquaintances, etc. This way you can effectively communicate your new professional designation to all your colleagues and business associates and not have to bother your family and friends about it. You also don’t have to waste a half hour browsing through your address book trying to hand pick whom the message needs to reach! 10. Social media is a big buzzword and social networking a must these days. So carefully consider your options and which sites you need to be active on. Some of these sites can be interlinked so your status message updated on one site can be displayed on the others. There are common forums such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and many more that will let you look at all your social networking sites on one site and work from there. You can even time your updates for display later and that way ensure that you are not constantly checking these social networking websites 24/7.

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