Everyone loves to learn more about themselves. We are captivated by personality tests, compatibility quizzes, surveys that tell us about ourselves, and even a non-scientific IQ test now and then. So, it’s no surprise that our behavior and our personalities show up in our work habits as well. Email is no exception. But what can your IT person learn from your inbox?
You can learn a lot about a person by spending time in their inbox – without even reading their email. Just the way you manage your inbox reveals things about you. In fact, there are lots of articles about this that dive into the psychology of how you manage your email. Here are few links to some fun ones:
- What Your Email Inbox Reveals About Your Personality – Business Insider
- What Does Your Email Inbox Say About You? – Psychology Today
- The Five Kinds of Personalities that Show Up in Every Inbox – The Muse
What I wanted to share is what your IT person can learn from your inbox.
A Love/Hate Relationship with Your Inbox
In business, email is ubiquitous. Nearly every task you perform links back to communication that initiated from an email. Parallel to that is the fact that email is often the first point of entry for cybercrime. This is creating a love/hate relationship with email.
Nobody feels the impact of this more than your IT provider. That is because it is our responsibility to manage your email system and keep it running smoothly, fast, and securely.
It’s Not You, It’s Us
Most of the time, how you manage your inbox reveals more about your IT person than you. Yes, you likely use it for things you shouldn’t, and save more email than you should. But that doesn’t tell us you’re an unorganized, scatterbrain that doesn’t know how to manage your life. What it tells us is that we haven’t done a good job of showing you a better way, automating some of the management tasks to make your life easier. For example, to help manage email overload, we can install tools that archive your email automatically.
Here are some other common inbox issues and some ways you can resolve them.
Your Personal Filing System
You may think that leaving a file in an email is a safe way to store it. In fact, it is far better to move the attachment to a folder that will be backed up. If you must keep the email, make sure you have an email backup system in place.
Did you know that Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G Suite do not include backup? Anyone could delete an email — either accidentally or on purpose — and within a short period of time it will be lost forever. One way to solve this is to get an inexpensive third-party backup system for your email. Your IT provider can advise you about their preferred vendor. This is a better strategy for keeping emails long term.
Sending Large Files
You know that 8MB image file you just sent? It may be under the 9MB Outlook limit, but it’s still not a good idea to use email for sharing files of this size. Not only is it a potential security issue, it’s the reason why your email is slow to open, the inbox is harder to search through, and the application needs more storage.
Instead of sending files via email, try using file sending tools. There are hundreds of options. Ask your IT provider which ones they recommend. Many of our clients use Egnyte cloud-based enterprise file sharing for their files systems. It makes sending large file links to people easy and secure.
Not Filing or Filtering Email
Do you leave all your messages in your inbox and sort by subject, name, date, etc. to find what you need? An organized mailbox is much easier to search through. Outlook has some great new features that can help with this. There are also some great third-party tools like Sanebox. This powerful AI-based email management tool learns from your behavior and filters your email before it even comes to your inbox. It can save you hours of manual filtering work each week.
While it is not a filter for security or phishing attacks (you’ll still need one of those too), Sanebox helps rid your inbox of junk before it gets to you. It saves you time by categorizing messages that make it through company filters. These may be emails you signed up for like newsletters, vendors communications, etc.
Using Email for Urgent Messages
You may have realized by now that email isn’t a form of communication for urgent messages and ongoing discussions. For example, when was the last time your teenager responded to an email asking if they needed a ride home from practice? Texting or direct messaging (DM) using Snap Chat or Twitter gets a much more immediate response.
Similarly, in business, there are far better ways to reach someone and ensure a timely response. Tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack are great for urgent messages because we treat the messages more like a text or DM.
Leading by Example
Here at Snap Tech, we have focused on email reduction focus for years. By adopting new communications like Slack and Microsoft Teams, we divert ongoing discussions away from our inboxes. While both platforms provide similar features, our preference is Microsoft Teams. It has essentially replaced almost all internal email. We no longer send out big email blast announcements or entrench ourselves in long back-and-forth email conversations. MS Teams messages flow more naturally, eliminating confusion by threading conversations in an easy to digest way.
Email really is a double-edged sword. While it facilitates some great efficiencies in the workplace, too many of us have become slaves to it. Personally, I look forward to future email innovations. I think it will eventually die out as newer forms of communication take over.
Until then, try not to stress about it. Implementing the tools and tips provided here may provide relief from email overload. Let us know if it makes a difference to your day!
By Karl Bickmore, CEO Snap Tech IT