Skip to main content

3 Ways to Tame the E-mail Monster

Ever get messages that make you want to reach through your computer and choke someone? For me, this would include occasions where people e-mail me in the morning and by afternoon are sending another e-mail asking why I haven't responded yet. It happens to me all the time, no exaggeration. No one has done it to me today probably because everyone knows I just got back from vacation and am plowing through mail and an assortment of other things.

Last week while I was away my friend Melissa Kelly graciously stepped up to handle my blog and Facebook for me. I know you may wonder, "why do you need someone to handle your facebook? Has facebook become so important you need someone to manage it while you are on vacation?" The fact is that blog traffic is very dependent upon facebook updates and I wanted my guest bloggers last week to get the most traffic possible. These ladies had something really important to say and I wanted everyone to be aware of it. So I asked Melissa to post url's for my blogs on Facebook and keep up with any comment moderation necessary.  So Melissa "took over" my blog and facebook Monday morning and by the afternoon before our cruise ship had even set sail, I had this message from her:
"BTW when I posted the [blog] link this afternoon to the post today and the news feed comes up and shows how many messages you have...WOW!! I knew you were in high demand but WOW! You had at that time like 99 messages. Goodness. Glad you posted that I am posting the links for you! You are a highly sought after woman! You can trust that I will only be on long enough to post the links and answer if needed any comments. Love you!"
The reality of the insanity of my inbox hit me even more having someone else point it out. Honestly, I thought for a moment about having Melissa pose as me and answer as many of my e-mails as she wanted to save me time when I got back.  Ha ha! But since she's the mother of four young children, and holds multiple roles in her own life, that clearly was not a viable option.  Having her do just what I asked her to do in the beginning was a huge favor.

Ninety-nine. 99. NINETY NINE. Ninety-freakin-nine. 

This was on Facebook alone, by 1:00 PM. I shared in another post that between several e-mail accounts and multiple jobs, and Facebook, I usually get about 300 pieces of mail a day. 



I handle them all.
By myself.


I haven't had an assistant for two years. 2. Two. T-W-O. 2! 2! 2! T------W-------O.

But who's counting? I'm not complaining, at least in this post, but I am stating fact. [sigh] I manage my email and and most everything with the help of a few volunteers that are absolutely worth their weight in gold.  When I meet someone new and they ask me what I do in life I say, "I juggle."


Quite honestly there are days I hit a wall when someone emails me at 1:00 PM as a follow up to a 9:00 AM e-mail that says, "I emailed you this morning and I still haven't heard from you yet. Is there something wrong with your account? I just needed to know the answer..." [insert scream here] 

Okay, this rant is a purposeful one. It's not just to sound off about my mail issues. (By the way, I have a general rule, to answer it all within 24 hours, unless I'm on vacation.) 

Here are 3 things that help me tame this monster. 

1) Delete junk first

Junk includes forwards, and most newsletters I never subscribed to. Now, some things I never subscribed to, but I actually want to read. These would include ministry friends newsletters and things like that, when they have added me to their list. If it's a friend's communique, I don't delete. But when an insurance company or phone company sends me something, I delete.  And I usually take it one step further...

2)  Take time to unsubscribe each week

I go through once a week to permanently unsubscribe from publications or lists I have not subscribed to and have no interest in. I take about 15 minutes a week to go through all folders including SPAM and unsubscribe from these and I notice it helps volume of mail the next week. I also go through my Facebook inbox and "leave the conversation" of anyone sending me mass e-mails about putting my bra or panties color on my Facebook status to support breast cancer, or sharing where I put my purse in support of the same. I give financially to breast cancer awareness however I don't have time for these e-mail games and conversations. I also don't participate in things like recipe exchanges or chain letters of any kind.

3)  Touch it once.

I answer mail when I open it. I don't table it for later. I open it, and answer it. Unless something requires a more thoughtful response and the creation of a "special" e-mail of sorts. In that case it's still high priority to get it done in 24 hours and get it off my plate.

I hope this helps you in taming the e-mail monster. It still won't stop the clueless person from asking you why you haven't answered their e-mail since it's been a whole 2.5 hours since they e-mailed you. But it will help you.


And what does it help me to do most? It helps me to get to the people that I really want to converse with. That's never an irritation, in fact it's one of the sweetest parts of life! Today I shared 7 brief inbox exchanges with my dear friend Kristy, and it's been the nicest thing that's happened to me all day. Well, that and sharing lunch with my husband. E-mails like this are never a burden, they are a blessing. But in my experience, you have to clear out the junk to get to the blessings.

Comments

Melissa said…
I WAS totally amazed at how many FB messages she had. Amazing! PD I was honored that you trusted me enough to access your personal page. Last weeks guest posts were fantastic and informal! <3 you!

Popular posts from this blog

Relevant Church doing something...

incredibly RELEVANT!

I just heard some news today that really inspired me. A church here in Tampa, Relevant Church is doing a new thing this month called the "30 Days Sex Challenge." (I've never visited the church but Pastor Trinity - our children's pastor - has visited or has met some people from this church and he was very impressed.) Realizing that this is a major element missing from some marriages (the frequency factor) their lead pastor, Paul Wirth, has issued a challenge for all the married couples to have sex for 30 days in a row. At the same time he has issued a challenge for all unmarrieds to completely abstain from sex. Of course we know the Bible says that those who are unmarried should not have sex in the first place but the point is, a lot of unmarried's aren't obeying the Lord's command to abstain and this is just one pastor's way of trying to get them to see that indeed, there is a better way! (God's way!) At the same time, many married couples are no

What Verbal Abuse is Really Like, and Why We Must Care
Guest Post: Terri von Wood

In my speaking travels, I meet the most amazing people. Some are connections that go beyond just a night or a weekend of preac hing. One day on my journey, I met Terri von Wood, and we immediately clicked and have been friends ever since.  Just a reminder that all of our guest bloggers this week are available to chat with you in the comment section here on the blog or on my facebook page where the blog is also published.   *** People who have never suffered through or witnessed abuse (including pastors) often don't know how to help women in abusive situations. Knowledge is power and it is my belief that if the church understood the prevalence of abuse, help would be made available.  First, we must acknowledge that the divorce rate is the same  in the church as in the world.  Second, we must understand that the 50% divorce rate does not include all the women who are abused but stay because they do not know what else to do or do not have anyone to turn to.  If those women we

This Could Have Ruined Everything... (But It Didn't!)

 No one would ever guess what happened to me this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida...so I'm going to tell you. :) As I was preaching at the Fearless Tour at New Hope Assembly of God this weekend,  I got choked up, literally. For probably 2-3 minutes I coughed profusely and greatly struggled. Then I drank some water and kept preaching. Everyone was gracious to give me a few moments to get my bearings. If you were there, you'll remember it! What no one realized at the time was that I swallowed a bug that flew right in while I was preaching! So disgusting! I said nothing because I was at a point in the sermon where I was really connecting and I knew if I said, "I swallowed a bug," everyone would either laugh profusely or be really concerned, or start feeling sorry for me.  And at that point whey wouldn't be thinking about the message anymore, but the fact that I had just swallowed a bug. They would then imagine what it would be like, and feel grossed out which