Eliminate Email Overload
By Gail Doby. ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University
Even if you use tags, spam filters, sub folders, and other tactics to help sort through the torrent of emails that passes into your Inbox each day, you still have to spend a good deal of time trying to identify the ones you most need to respond to from the ones you can set aside until later. In my search to find a better way to manage emails I came across one solution that has made a big improvement for me and may work for you, too.
The most effective way to eliminate email overload that I’ve found is to use a private network for your most essential correspondence. There are a number of options to choose from, each with its own pluses and minuses. One the one hand, you can create a private chat within a larger network, like Google Hangouts, or within an app, like WhatsApp, but they are mainly for text-like messaging and sharing photos and videos. At the other end of the spectrum are the more robust collaborative workspace platforms like Basecamp, Trello or Asana that require more set up and management. I wanted something in-between, something that offered more functionality than just a chat space but was easy to implement, to learn and to manage. After comparing various possibilities, I chose Slack.
My team and I have been using Slack for a little over a year now, and I can say it’s made quite a difference. With Slack, you create your own proprietary communication network, which is available only through invitation. You can create public channels in which all the members of your team, or whatever group you choose to assemble, can communicate with one another, and you can create private channels that only that particular individual can view (although they can receive messages from anyone on the network).
Using Slack is simple. Go the Slack website and register to create your private network. You download the Slack app to your computer or smart device and enter your login, which you receive with your invitation to participate. With the app open and active, when someone sends you or your group a message, you get an alert. That way you are not checking your email or text app all the time for important messages.
In addition to sending emails or messages in Slack, you can also attach and share documents, photographs, spreadsheets, etc., and link to other resources. Slack also integrates with several online storage platforms, like GoogleDocs and DropBox, making it easy to retrieve files and share them even when you are not at your computer. Plus, all the content on Slack is fully searchable, making it easy to find a particular message or document when you need to.
You and your team can use Slack for free with basic functionality and limited online storage. If you want to take advantage of some of its other features, such as screen sharing and video calling, a standard package runs $8 a month per user.
If you’re fed up with email overload, I highly recommend giving Slack or one of the other private network programs a try. It will help you focus, reduce your stress, and allow you to be more productive while ensuring you don’t miss or overlook a critical email or text message.