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Get Control of your E-Mail, Before it Controls You

By Merle
Posted Friday, July 16, 2004

How to take control of your email

Ask any online entrepreneur where they spend the bulk of their time and they'll tell you they are reading and responding to e-mail. If you run an online business you may receive hundreds of messages a day. It comes with the territory and unfortunately, there's no escaping it. Keeping up with your e-mail is very important to your success online and you should make every attempt to answer any and all messages within 24 to 48 hours.

Here are some tips for streamlining the amount of time you spend managing your inbox.

1) Folders: Set up folders to better organize your e-mail and find things more readily when you need them. For example, you may want to set up folders named after indiv- uals you get frequent mail from, folders for ezines you receive, software receipts, and others. When you need something, you will know exactly where to find it.

2) Blocked Senders List: Face it, we all get Spam and the more active you are online, the more of it you'll receive. Take it from me, I know. I get hundreds daily on everything from growing certain parts of my anatomy (including ones I don't have), to how I can become a millionaire overnight. An easy way to rid yourself of Spam is to highlight the message and add it to your email client's blocked sender's list. Most all programs include this feature. Once you add someone to this list you'll never receive another e-mail from that address again.

Another option to reduce the amount of Spam you get is to run a Spam Filtering program before retrieving your e-mail. SpamKiller.com or Mailwasher.net both work great. A brand new free service that just hit the scene and works with Outlook (http://www.cloudmark.com/)

3) Message Rules: Make sure you set up message rules or filters as they can automate some tasks and move incoming messages to their appropriate folders. For example, you can set up a message rule that says if email arrives to a certain email address, reply with a prefabbed text document you have created in advance. Also known as autoresponders, message rules make it easy to automatically reply to messages, send messages directly to the trash and more. This is a powerful feature; study it and use it.

4) Empty Deleted/Sent Folders: Make sure you go into your sent box and deleted message folders on a regular basis and delete their contents. Messages can pile up quickly and slow down your e-mail client substantially.

5) Software: Many software manufacturers make add on module software for many of the popular e-mail clients like Outlook and Outlook Express. If the program doesn't have a feature you need, you may find an inexpensive package that will extend your e-mail client's capabilities. For an example: check out a list of freeware at.. (http://www.webattack.com/freeware/comm/)

ExLife Add on for Outlook: (http://www.ornicusa.com/add-ins/exlife.shtml)

About Us Has a nice section here: (http://email.about.com/cs/oetipstricks/)

Nelson Email Organizer (http://www.emailorganizer.com/)

6) Do Something: Don't allow messages to build up in your inbox or before you know it you'll be buried alive in messages. As you go through your mail, try to act on every piece of mail you receive immediately.Reply to it, delete it, or file it in one of your folders. Just make sure you do something. If you follow this advice you'll never end up with 500 sitting in your inbox demanding your attention.

7) Print It: If you're like me, you subscribe to a lot of ezines. If you don't have time to read them online do what I do: print them out and take them on the road with you. I read them while waiting for appointments or when I'm on break or lunch at my night job.

8) Customize Layouts: Most e-mail clients allow you to customize the toolbars and look of your program. Add the features you use most often to the toolbars and change the look of the layout to suit your needs.

9) Return Receipts: Have you ever sent a message and wondered if the recipient ever received it? Send your e-mail with a "return receipt" request and you'll be sent a notification by e-mail when they have read it. The reader can stop this message from going out to you, but nine out of ten don't mind and allow the reply.

10) Message Priority: When you send an e-mail you can set the priority of the message to "high," which puts a red marker or flag next to it when the recipient receives it. This tells the reader that the message is very important and may help motivate them to reply sooner. Just don't get in the habit of sending every message this way or people will get annoyed. Only use it for important correspondence.

For a great ezine that will help you be even more productive with your email go to (http://www.email911.com/)

If you follow these top 10 tips, you won't find yourself drowning in e-mails and you'll spend less time managing it. Remember, you need to control your e-mail, don't let it control you.

About the Author
Merle is an internet marketer, promotion consultant and ezine publisher. Visit her sites at (http://www.mcpromotions.com/), (http://www.merlesworld.com/) and (http://www.ezineadauction.com/).