Feb 5, 2009

Prioritize Your Life: E-Mail

I don't know of anybody who hasn't uttered the following phrase: There aren't enough hours in the day. I've said it more than once - often multiple times in a given day. But it doesn't have to be that way (and no, I'm not offering an "As seen on TV" device).

The advice I want to give you is, as far as time goes, the little things add up. Whether it's checking e-mail, checking the casserole, or checking this blog, there are plenty of time vacuums that rob you of your free time.

There is no single way to free up every minute of every day, but there are definite methods to give you a time rebate, so you can enjoy the things you love more and spend less time with the things that are plaguing your existence. Some of them you might not even realize you're doing.

I'll be blogging a series of these over the next couple of weeks, so check back in - although not too often!


E-Mail is a big time-waster. Think of how many times you check your e-mail over the course of the day. Five? Ten? Fifty? It can happen, and I know people who compulsively check their e-mail, thinking they might be missing something extremely important. Not true, in most cases.

Solution: Check your e-mail only a couple times over the course of the day, when traffic is at its height or when you've been away from the computer the longest. Optimally, you should check e-mail once in the morning when you wake up, at lunch, and then once in the evening.

For an added bonus: Deal with your e-mail in those sessions, clearing the inbox a little each time, rather than taking an hour or two to get it all cleaned up later in the week. Or, on the other hand, if it works best for you to deal with e-mail at once, make sure you have the most streamlined system possible.

That same principle - checking things only once or twice a day - can be applied to all web-surfing, but I'll get into it in more depth in another post.


If you spend as much time clicking and then deleting SPAM messages as you do sorting through important mail, then taking the time to install a proper SPAM filter may be the thing for you. A recent blog post over at Unclutterer discusses this very topic in depth, advocating that you install a server-side spam filter on your e-mail so that more unwanted messages go into the junk mail folder in the future. GMail - not to get on my high horse! - has a wonderful SPAM deterrent.

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