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Is Email Management the Symptom or the Problem?

My new client, who is an Associate Dean, mentioned needing email management strategies that were customized for her in her initial message to me. Since my job is to uncover the real problem so a realistic goal can be set, I started peeling back the onion. As our conversation continued, I was wondering is email management the symptom or the problem.

I asked about her email challenges and what she wanted to achieve. She proceeded to give me an overview of what wasn’t working…. Her overflowing inbox.  Not responding to messages promptly.  Moving all the messages out of her inbox.

I asked clarifying questions as she proceeded to provide more detail. The more I carefully listened to what she was saying the clearer the picture. The real issue… A lack of effective systems for managing the tasks that were delivered via email.

I then asked questions about her current processes for addressing these tasks. When I offered possible solutions for improving them or creating new ones, we were on the way to solving the problems.

First up was creating a process to ensure that all requests for class changes were approved by the deadline. Part of this process included setting up an auto responder email message that is used on the first 2 days of each semester.

Next up was creating a process to address all the problems that staff requested assistance with. A series of emails were generated as part of the process and Quicksteps in Outlook was used to automate them.  

If you like my client are facing email management challenges…. Take a closer look to determine is email management the symptom or the problem. I suggest doing this instead of moving all the messages from your inbox to a folder and starting over with an empty inbox.

If you’d like some tips for being more effective with your email, click here to access.

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