Tuesday 25 July 2017

Me and my email

I actually love my email. Even though like today it sometimes brings me a rejection. There was a time, especially when I was still employed, when I used to be a little afraid of it, a little bullied by it.  Then, however, I remembered it is here to serve us as a tool rather than to rule us. Now it has become like a magical box, full of treasure.     

Snail mail all but gone

I really do get very little snailmail. I've opted to have pretty well all bills, statements and invoices delivered electronically. That means I can pass them easily on to my accountant. It requires a little organisation but if something gets misfiled, it's fairly easy to do a search on the computer and find it again.
I get a lot of email – far more that I ever used to get as snailmail and in fact none or at least very little of it is junk. I have got a good spam filter for that. I'm on several mailing lists and even though I don't always have time to read very post I like to keep them coming because occasionally I do read them and I find a few gems.

Limiting time

It could take me several hours to monitor my email if I read every single one. So I don't. I allow just half an hour a day.
I sweep through starting from anything from the day before. I select anything that needs a reply and reply very quickly if I can – otherwise, it goes on to my "to do" list and I then give it all the attention it needs later.
I'll then go back to the start of the list and delete or file any thing I can for three days' worth or again to the start of yesterday.
I spend the rest of my half hour enjoying some of the non-urgent posts- newsletters,   book recommendations, sales and personal news etc.

Proactively sending email

Yes of course I do this pretty well daily. This comes up as part of my "to do" list and often includes submitting a text for publication. It's not about using email for the sake of it – it's more that email is the most effective way to achieve certain goals. It's a tool not a ruler, remember.  

Actually inviting more email

Yes, I'm actually trying to get more people to connect with me by email. Yes, of course, that is for me to be able to email people my newsletter, news about my books and details of my events.  That will generate more replies for me and more emails to deal with. But I'm confident my system will still work and I'll be able to deal with them in half an hour a day.

Final tip

Think very carefully before you unsubscribe form a newsy email list. Remember, you don't have to read it every time. The delete button on your computer is very useful. Occasionally you will find something very exciting there.

And a warning .....

I broke my arm badly as a result of checking my email whilst on holiday.
"That'll teach you," said my son. 
Do remember the handy "out of office" automatic replies you can put on.      


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