Improve Your Productivity and Your Reputation Through Your Inbox

Last Updated Jan 25, 2010 10:54 PM EST

The world, as they say, is getting smaller. One side effect of our shrinking, faster planet is that we interact with more people than we used to -- and the pace of that interaction has heightened. People judge us by how well we communicate, and the state of your inbox is a way to assess that. In other words, you can figure out what your professional reputation is by looking at how you manage Outlook.

An interesting article at Lifehack contends that your time management system needs to be updated to keep pace with the faster pace and broader set of associates we communicate with.

I've frequently recommended the touch-once method of e-mail management. If you review and set aside e-mail for later, it stacks up, reducing our ability to respond effectively and in a timely manner. Indeed, Lifehack says:

If it requires a few minutes of either reading or thinking, most professionals will leave it for later once they have completed a quick glance. This particular habit isn't a problem when applied to a single email. However, when it's done a few hundred or thousand times, it creates a mountain of half-promises that we have made to ourselves, each saying "I'll return to it when I have time."
When you're ready to take command of that inbox, check out some of our industrial strength tips for improving your e-mail efficiency: