I recently was offline for about three days. When I signed on the evening of the 4th day and opened the first of my three email accounts I breathed a sigh of relief. Only 3 emails waiting to be read. I’m sure you’re thinking if I had fewer accounts I wouldn’t have so many to keep up with. I have three for a very good reason: one is for my personal email – family and friends, one for junk mail – you know when you shop online and have to put an email address, this is for that. Most of it I delete unread which allows me to weed through these pretty quickly. The last one is for emails from the various loops/writing groups I belong to.
The second one (the junk mail account) had 185 emails but again these were easy to wade through as I deleted 95% of them without even opening them. The writing related email account had 110 emails. I’m on digest on nearly every loop/group I belong to so this seemed overwhelming. I never delete these unread because I never know if they will contain information on marketing, promotion, etc that I might not know about. (Believe there is a lot I don’t know about those two subjects. LOL.) I do admit to skimming some of the older emails but always try to send either a group congratulations, kudos, or written high five to members who’ve received a great review, had a new release, signed a new contract, or any other good news or to send them a private email offering my congratulations. Writing can be an isolating profession so it’s fun to share in the good news of my fellow writers.
Unfortunately I have the bad habit of saving those emails that have information I might want to refer back to sometime in the future. When I first joined various loops, I printed out the pertinent emails and filed them in an accordion file by subject. I did pretty well at keeping up on this until I had knee surgery last August. Since then I’ve been just saving the emails in my inbox with the good intention of printing them when I had time. Well, you know what they say about the road to Hell being paved with. I never seem to have the time to go back and look at those saved emails and decide if I really need or want the information and to print it off, much less file it. I have over 300 emails saved in my inbox not including the new ones that arrive daily.
So how do I find the time to go through those saved emails? Should I even bother? I’d love to take a couple of days off from work and just devote those days to going through them, but I started a new job a little over 6 months ago and don’t have any vacation time to speak of that I can fritter away on emails. Weekends are pretty much out as well. Saturdays are my errand day. I’m usually out of the house by 9:15-9:30am and don’t get back home until 2:30-3:00pm. Then it’s time for the housecleaning I only do once a week (cleaning the bathroom, moping the kitchen floor etc) I try to squeeze in a few hours of writing/promotion time then watch a couple of shows I’ve taped during the week then off to bed. Sundays, I try to stay off the computer and dedicate it to family time and really don’t want to give that up.
So, how do you handle your email? Do you have any suggestions for me on how to get a handle on mine?