You are busy. One of the daily challenges you face is taming your e-mail. Without a system, the task of managing your electronic mail can become a growing burden, slowing down your ability to communicate effectively. Today, I’ll introduce you to “The STARS™” system– an easy 5-step approach to effectively managing your mail. STARS™ as you might guess is an acronym and represents the words: Scan, Trash, Act, Read, and Store. Let’s break each one down to get a feel for how the STARS™ system might work for you:
Many e-Mail servers provide a “pre-delivery” SPAM filter – a way to reduce the amount of unsolicited mail from entering your “inbox”. This filter can often be adjusted if it is “too aggressive” (i.e. identifying too many valid e-mails as SPAM) or “not aggressive enough” (i.e. allowing too many SPAM e-mails through). If you are troubled by large amounts of SPAM, and your e-Mail provider doesn’t offer an effective means for controlling it, I recommend a program called Mailwasher Pro™ for Windows users (available via the banner link on my Anti-Virus page at http://www.askavie.com/boutique/anti-virus/ ). MailWasher Pro™ lets you preview all your email before it gets to your computer or mobile device, enabling you to read all your email securely, and instantly delete any unwanted or suspicious email. Your remaining good email is downloaded to your PC or mobile device, saving you from receiving any spam or email viruses.
Even without the benefit of a SPAM filter, the “Scan It” process gives you the “bird’s eye” view of your mail so that you can move to the next step:
The best way to reduce the e-Mail overload is to use the “Delete” button and TRASH all mail that has no use to you. Of course, SPAM is the #1 offender and that should be deleted immediately. The next would be those items that you may have “subscribed to” but no longer serve a purpose. For the legitimate lists that you have requested via an opt-in, you can routinely safely “Unsubscribe” and remove yourself from the regular burden of having to trash those you no longer find useful. I don’t recommend “Unsubscribing” from lists that you don’t recognize, as this simply confirms to the sender that you exist, and the unscrupulous ones will continue to burden your inbox with them and possibly even increase the volume by alerting others of your e-mail address.
Always remember to “empty your trash” folder. It tends to accumulate if you don’t make the effort to delete its contents. After you have eliminated the unwanted mail, the next step is to:
Act On It
Here is where you either immediately Reply to It, Forward it to someone who may be better suited to “Act On It”, or Hold it until you have more information to deal with it. The secret in this step is to “Do Something with it”, don’t let it just sit there. Your inbox really should be treated like a “landing strip” in an Airport. Like an airplane, your mail “lands” in your inbox and needs to have a “destination”. It can’t just stay on the runway or it will hold up traffic and jam up the works. So the secret to the STARS™ system is to ACT on the mail as soon as possible – and regular time and attention is needed to deal with your mail.
Sometimes, your e-mail is a newsletter, document, or other information that is interesting and requires more concentrated time and attention in the form of “reading time”. Schedule chunks of dedicated “reading time”. For those “spare minutes” when you are not in front of your computer, you may even wish to use a Tablet and make time to read those pieces that provide valuable information.
Setting up “rules” or “filters” in your e-Mail client helps to automatically “route” your mail to folders – helping you organize and store those items you know you need for future reference, yet don’t need to deal with during the previous 4 Steps. Setting up mail folders and organizing them in a way that you can easily locate those “confirmations”, “receipts”, “instructions”, etc. will go a long way to helping you cope with the load.
This is fourth in a series of weekly aSKaVIE articles devoted to your productivity, digital privacy and protection. In future articles, you can look forward to tips and tricks that you can use to make sense out of your digital investments as well as reviews of new and exciting things that will likely provide value to your home and business. I invite you to write me with your questions and feedback. We’ll also be helping and inspiring others by answering your questions and that’s what makes my job so much fun! So stay tuned. Please send your questions to TheRosyReport@askavie.com.
About Avie Uniglicht: For over 30-years, Avie Uniglicht – “Your Tech Concierge™” has provided technology support and solutions to entrepreneurs who don’t have time to worry about the details. Specializing in “White-Glove Remote Room-Service,” Avie’s concept of giving you, his client, virtual “house calls” is cited regularly as invaluable and many of Avie’s clients say they couldn’t live without him on speed dial. Avie graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University with a BS in Business Administration. A former auditor for Price Waterhouse and past President of Ace Computer Center Inc., he is also the author of the e-Book, “Your Personal Computer Driver’s License.” Avie’s extensive business background and strong experience in accounting enhances his natural talent for helping his clients see the bigger picture regarding their business. “Your Tech Concierge” helps clients evaluate strategy so that together, they create an action plan with the end in mind. For more information or to “Ask Avie,” please call him at (888)-374-3712, and visit www.askavie.com.