Outlook Follow Up

A couple of months ago I wrote about the overwhelming feeling I had every day when my inbox was over-stuffed. I was pushing 2000 messages just in my inbox – and I was doing a lot of filing of messages then. Well I am happy to report that I have stuck with the program. Back then I whittled my inbox down to 6 messages.

Right now my inbox is bloated up to 38 messages. 15 of those will be removed as soon as I take care of the small tasks associated with them. Now don’t get me wrong. Other than spam, I don’t throw anything away. I’ve got emails dating back to 1999. But instead of letting them fill up my inbox, I regularly file the messages away to where they belong.

Even if there is a “to do” associated with an email, I can flag it or categorize it and then file it. With Outlook 2007’s powerful search tools, the flag or category let’s me know I need to follow up with it. And it feels so good to turn off a due flag on an email and watch the “For Follow Up” search category go down by one.

So if you are sinking in your inbox, set aside the time to clean it out. Once its clean, be ruthless. Make sure you come back to it each day or each week and whittle it down. Do I need this email? Does this email represent a to-do for me? Where can I file this email? Does it belong to a specific category? All of these questions can help you figure out where to put the email.

One final confession: I have learned to delete messages as well.  Yes, I had to face it – some emails, like a single word “yes” in reply to a question I asked, might not be worth keeping.ikoni

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An Email Address By Any Other Letter

Shakespeare may have said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but who would have imagined that email address starting with any other letter would get less spam?

Say what? A researcher in England discovered that, for real email addresses, those beginning with less common letters receive less spam. So that means that if your name is Mike Xanowitz, you might want to have your email address as xanowitzm@mydomain.com instead of mxanowitz@mydomain.com. M’s, you see, get more spam than X’s.

This is just one study but the results feel right to me. Think about it another way. mike@mydomain.com sounds pretty general, even if mydomain.com isn’t so well known. xanowitz@mydomain.com on the otherhand is pretty specific. So if I were trying to send unsolicited commercial messages (otherwise known as spam) to this domain, I might get lucky and guess that mike@ is a valid email address. But unless I know Mike personally and know how to spell his last name, I’m unlikely to simply guess at xanowitz@ and be right.

Does it mean anything to you? Perhaps not if you already have an established email. If however you’re in the process of creating a new email address, consider a lesser used first letter such as x, y or z for your email address.

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