Email for all its flaws is still the number one way of communicating online. Yet still users have no idea how to manage it, use it and bend it to their will. Lately, the lack of email intelligence among users has raised my ire. So much so that I’ve decided users need to either learn to master their email, in at very least a basic way, or quit complaining about it.
Email platforms are plentiful, but a few stand out from the crowd.
Businesses use Exchange and by some accounts need to. However, instead of wasting time and resources on managing an Exchange server, small businesses should move towards a more simpler approach through Google Apps or Office 365. There is simply no need for an Exchange environment in an office size of under 10 users. With today’s full featured cloud options, Exchange can easily be replaced in a small office environment.
If your company uses proprietary software that relies on Exchange, then find a more flexible alternative. You’ll find that your business becomes less reliant on specialized software and it sends a message to the software company that they need to produce more flexible options or join the dinosaurs.
Gmail is easily the most robust web based email solution available, but these same principles apply to other top email providers.
- Use filters! For the love of all holy email, if you want to get out from under that pile of email, then use filters. Start NOW!
- Gmail has a convenient priority label to manage urgent and important messages you expect to receive. However, with a quick filter setup, priority labels can be used with other services as well.
- Star messages with the dozen or so star options to organize your priorities. After some time you’ll become accustomed to using them and even organize them around your workflow.
- For gmail specifically, users can even create a ‘Snooze‘ function to delay messages from reaching their inbox. You can set your own up by following this tutorial.
While I’m not a fan of Outlook, it is the predominant email program. It too has filtering capabilities and if you don’t bother to use them or take time to understand how they work, then you deserve all the spam and missed emails you get.
Learn what you’re doing and continue to revise to suit your needs. Stop complaining that it’s not working the way you “want” it to. You need to teach Outlook how to handle your messages. Remember, Outlook is software not a mind-reading artificial intelligence.