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How to Reduce the Flow of Email

email6.jpgLike countless business folks, IBM's Luis Suarez was tired of his overstuffed inbox and the hours it demanded every day. So he took some drastic measures: He stopped using e-mail. Not entirely, and not cold-turkey, but enough to make e-mail overload a thing of the past. Here's how he did it, as summarized by Web Worker Daily:

  • Answer questions via blog postings or wiki pages, rather than email, so that future contacts with the same question can find the answer without asking you.
  • Use instant messages for short answers; switch to phone if a conversation lasts more than three minutes.
  • Use a feed reader instead of email to track relevant content; this gives you more control of what you receive and when.
  • Encourage your contacts to follow your lead, so they cut down on the overall email glut too.
You can read Suarez's full account in his NY Times piece, I Freed Myself From E-Mail's Grip. I agree with the point on using IM whenever possible, though for me it's less about reducing e-mail clutter and more about getting a fast response. (Of course, it's one less message in the recipient's inbox, so it's really win-win all the way around.)

We've posted about mastering e-mail overload in the past, but mostly the focus has been on efficient organization of your inbox, not reducing the actual flow of e-mail. Would Suarez's methods work for you?

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