Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stressless Saturday: Information Overload

Have you ever opened your e-mail account and wanted to scream because of the sheer number of new e-mails that came in over night? I recently changed my e-mail address and it has been a great opportunity to rethink my e-mail habits. For instance, I had to decide whether or not to rejoin some of the e-mail subscriptions that I had. Some were very informative...most of them were, actually...but I just had too much information being dumped into my inbox every day.
My subscriptions included (not an exhaustive list):
The American Association of Christian Counselors
Spark People (a diet subscription that I never opened)
Christian Counseling Journal
TGIF (a great workplace devotional by Os Hillman)
Vista Print (a great way to get business cards or postcards very cheaply!)
Pay Pal
Freecycle (in two towns)
Bank (I get a daily update on my balance)
Google alerts (I had daily updates on 5 different topics of interest)
Picasa Web (they updated me any time one of my friends posted new pictures)
Church Prayer Chain
Church Newsletter
Client e-mails
Office Depot
Office Max

I'm exhausted just looking at that list! I began the process of paring down my e-mails by making the list you see above. Then I decided which ones I really opened and read each day. I still get many of them, but I have modified them. I changed my subscription from freecycle to the daily digest (once a day listing of everything offered instead of multiple e-mails a day) and limited myself to one town. Google alerts come to me once a week now instead of every day. I decided that although the Os Hillman devotional was great, I never actually read I didn't inform them of my new e-mail address. Spark People was a no-brainer since I never used it. I get flyers from most of the stores listed in my Sunday paper, and since I don't usually order things online from them I cancelled those e-mails.

Well, you get the idea! Once you have eliminated unnecessary e-mails use the "Do, Delegate, Dump, Delete" process on the remaining e-mails in your inbox.

Do - if there is something that needs your attention or a reply do those first.
Delegate - forward e-mails that need to be taken care of by someone else
Dump - If there is information that you need and want to keep, dump it into permanent storage by making a hard copy or by saving it as a document.
Delete - they say 80% of e-mail is junk...don't be afraid to hit the delete button!

We DO have control over some aspects of information overload. Take a look at your inbox and get started!

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