Confessions of an Dysfunctional E-mail User

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Hello, my name is Renee and I have serious e-mail issues. Imagine my secret shame. I am a technology writer with 1967 e-mails currently sitting in my inbox. 666 remain unread (no, I did not make up that number). Some are over a year old.

What has brought me to this sorry state? Let me count the ways:

1. I use my inbox as a "to do" list. I tend to flag e-mails that I need to act on and drag and drop them into the aptly named "needs action" folder. Then, I never look in the folder again, of course.

2. I am an e-pack rat! I am loathe to hit delete because I'm afraid I might need those messages later. This is why I don't subscribe to National Geographic Magazine. It's the same mentality that would compel me to save every issue for fear of never finding that photographic essay on shrimp farming. again. I could easily be one of those people giving away 25 years of back issues at a garage sale someday.

3. You know the old organization tip; never touch a piece of paper more than once? I know, I know; ditto for e-mail.

4. I rarely save attachments to my hard drive, where they belong. Why do that when I can just hit that paper clip button at the top of Outlook and Voila! they are all there bunched up for my easy perusal. I can just cruise through all my e-mails with attachments, open up what I need and close it again when I'm done.

5. Paranoia! What if a boss or colleague is keeping an electronic message trail on me? I better be prepared by doing the same, just in case. What if I need to reconstruct a timeline of my actions on a particular project or issue? What if...

6. Procrastination It's all right there. I am in my e-mail off and on all day. What a great place to leave something that I know I will eventually handle. Uh huh!

Last updated: Mar 9, 2009




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