Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Managing Email

It seems like more and more programs online are sending out notices by email. Both the Research Wiki and the Family Tree programs have provisions to watch your entries. In the case of the Research Wiki, you can set your preferences so that any page you edit automatically is added to your watch list. With both programs, you can add any page to your watch list and the program will send you automatic email notices of any changes. As you work with the programs over time, you end up watching a lot of pages and your email inbox dramatically shows you what you have done by adding all those pages. In addition, nearly every program has some sort of notification by email of new offers or updates. The longer you work online, the longer your email list becomes.

Your email inbox can start to get really crowded if you get email notifications from Google+, Facebook and Pinterest. It is not unusual for me to get over 100 emails a day and 200 is not impossible.

I could take the approach that some do, to just ignore my email and let it all pile up. But in all the chaff, I get inquiries, letters from friends and family and lot of day to day business email. So how do you manage?

First, you need an email program. If you are reading your email online at Gmail or Hotmail or whatever, you can use the program to create folders and with some programs, automatically sort the information into these folders. But this really only works well, if you have a local email management program. Microsoft and Apple both have their own programs and you may have one on your computer unless you have removed it or in the case of Microsoft have Windows 7. Of course, Microsoft has it Outlook program as part of the Office Suite. Some people like Apple Mail, some don't, but there are a number of other free alternatives. I tried Mozilla's Thunderbird and had good success and liked the program until one of my Gmail addresses crashed and Thunderbird could never recover. I moved to a program called Sparrow, that works very well after you get used to some of its eccentricities.

I have found in talking to people that I can't really recommend any specific program, because everyone seems to have their own personal opinion and very, very few want to take the time and effort to learn a new program. Also, many people like the convenience of using Yahoo!, Google or whatever, to check their mail rather than fuss with it on their local computer. With the advent of smartphones, such as the iPhone, and tablet computers, such as the iPad, I really end up getting most of my mail through these devices and don't worry so much about the program.

Whatever program you use, you need to be aware of the spam problem. Any unwanted emails are essentially spam. Any program you use should allow you to automatically send emails from a specific sender directly to a spam folder or the trash. But be aware that the filters may send valuable email to the spam folder and you may still need to review the messages for incorrectly classified items.

In every case, it seems that we each have to work out our own system but one thing is certain, my email load will likely increase.

1 comment:

  1. A solution to the influx of Facebook, Twitter, FollowUp, Groupon, LinkedIn, Instagram emails for Gmail, Hotmail, YahooMail, Outlook is an awesome browser-extension called PowerInbox. It uses email apps to make those emails interactive and real-time, letting you respond to the respective activities without juggling browser tabs and eliminating the risk of external distractions that result from visiting the webpages themselves. PowerInbox values your email experience and the goal is to make your inbox a place you'd like to be, rather than a place you dread spending time in. These notification emails are inevitable, so try taking the extra step to reducing your time spent on each email and improve your overall inbox efficiency.