E-mail overload is a problem that affects nearly everyone with an e-mail account. Business Week recently estimated that corporate e-mail users receive an average of 20 to 30 incoming e-mails a day, and that e-mail volume may grow by as much as 80% in the next year.1 Much of that increase will come from unsolicited promotional e-mail, or “spam,” which has doubled in volume in the last six months and could triple in the next year. The trend shows no signs of slowing down; increases in all incoming e-mail will likely continue year after year, creating an ever more urgent problem for e-mail users and corporations worldwide.
Incoming e-mail, if not managed properly, can become a significant drain on productivity. As users become distracted by messages piling up, they are more likely to lose track of important messages and fall further behind in their work. An inbox full of dozens or hundreds of messages renders the user increasingly ineffective in other areas of work, spending more and more time simply “putting out fires” caused by the bulging inbox. The more e-mail piles up, the less useful it is to users or their companies. In other words, the only way to enjoy e-mail’s benefits is to manage it properly.
This report describes a simple method that will allow any user to cope with increasing amounts of incoming e-mail.