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Blog: Working From Home
What's So Bad About Email?

Managing email is, for many people, the single most troublesome task of their entire work day.

People complain that there's no end to it; as soon as they finish responding to one message, two or three more appear. They get copied on issues they don't really care about. They're afraid if they don't check every few minutes, they'll fall so far behind they'll never catch up. What if they miss a message about some emergency that must be handled immediately? And while they're plowing through all those emails, the day slips away leaving other important work undone.

However, email has undeniable advantages:

-- You can send or receive email any time of day or night
-- You can control if, and when, you reply to messages
-- You can rewrite a message until you are sure it is exactly right
-- A record is created that you can refer to for information or documentation
Email saves endless rounds of telephone tag when you're trying to share information or reach agreement. It allows you to leave messages when it's convenient without interrupting the recipient, and to receive messages when it's convenient, without being interrupted yourself.
You can copy or forward them to other interested parties, so everyone stays in the loop. They're easy to store since they take up no room. Email content is searchable, so it's easy to locate documents by sender, topic, or any other criteria. Because they're searchable, there's really no need to even file them once you're finished acting on them; just move them into Old Mail or Archives. Many email programs allow you to assign rules, alerts, or filters to pre-label or sort messages as they arrive in order to bring certain ones to your attention.
Since emails are written, they document what was said and you can refer to them later. If someone doesn't recall receiving a message, it's easy to re-send. You can (and should) create templates to respond to recurring questions.
Composing an email gives you a chance to think about what, and how, you want to communicate. If you're having trouble coming up with the right words, you can save a draft and revisit it later when your head is clearer. You can bring up a topic that is potentially sensitive to someone else without catching the other person off guard; you give them a chance to think before they react. 

These are good things! All in all, I'm not sure email deserves its bad reputation!

The main reason people dread opening their email is because there is so much of it! However, they fail to consider that many tasks that used to be more cumbersome -- like the telephone tag mentioned above -- are now replaced by email.

Meetings that used to be required in order to keep everyone informed are replaced by email. Telephone interruptions are reduced due to email. Faulty recollections can be quickly refreshed by referring to email.  In truth, email can save you lots of time if you don't become a slave to it.

I say, the key is to prioritize, just like you do with every other aspect of your work.

What do YOU say?

posted on: 5/30/2010 9:00:00 AM by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

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Working From Home

by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker

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About Elaine:

Elaine Quinn is an internationally recognized expert on organizing, time management and productivity for the work-from-home solo professional. She is the author of "There's No Place Like Working From Home," filled with tips for solopreneurs who want to get organized, stay motivated and get things done. Learn more at www.NoPlaceLikeWorkingFromHome.com.

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Favorite Books and Products

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  • "There's No Place Like Working From Home"
    As the author, naturally this book is one of my favorites!

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