Organizing Email and Interoffice Memos to Save Time

Junk Mail Pile 
Are you are getting too many electronic mail (email) messages to read or interoffice memos coming across the desk too often?  Are you experiencing information overload, then you need to find a way to reduce correspondence.  Reduce unnecessary information overload.

Get off lists. If you are on memos or emails as a "Copy To" for information only and you know you can do without seeing everything related to the subject, ask to be taken off the list or only notified where an action on your part is necessary.   

Schedule your time.  Instead of reading and responding to all your correspondence when one comes in, plan specified times during the day for responses.  Try first thing in the morning, before lunch, and/or before leaving for the day to see what works for you.

Save if important.  If you need to file any correspondence manually or electronically for future reference, you should file it by subject or project for easy retrieval.  Most email systems allow for creation of on-line folders where important emails may move to for saving.  Some email systems also may be set-up to move items into folders automatically based upon subject or can have reminder prompts set for when an email response or action is due.

Trash if not important.  Emails or interoffice memos that do require your action or have information not pertinent to your responsibilities should be read and trashed immediately.  Keeping unnecessary information only clutters your files and inbox, which results in wasted time later re-reading when trying to clean out later.

Be concise.  When you are sending memos or email to others, keep text concise and to the point.  Be sure when you are replying that your replies are only sent to the sender or includes only those others that need the information.  In other words, do not “Copy All” or “Reply All”.

Provide optional details.  When you are sending emails and memos insert hyperlinks (URL) and attachments if more detail may be necessary for readers to follow through.  Utilizing sources outside of your text is a great way to share documents and information without having to type data into an email or memo.  If you are software when sending large documents or graphic files, consider using zip files as email attachments.  Zipping a file will compress the file size and make the item upload and download faster. 

Keep contact information.  It is wise for you to have a contact database on your computer to avoid having to keep files or a paper address book for this data.  Most email tools come with a contact database where you can enter email addresses, phone numbers, and other contact data.  To save time in the future, most email tools allow for clicking on the email address to start a new email to the contact.  Some also allow clicking on the contact’s phone number to have the computer place a call.

Build groups. Many email tools have the ability to set up group addresses with an ID you create.  This saves time as you can set up the ID to send an email to multiple addresses without having to find each person in your contacts.    For printed interoffice memos, consider making a routing sheet including names of team or committee members who typically need to see the same information.

For more ideas, see the articles below.


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