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IT: using e-mail efficiently
- Disable any 'new mail' warning. Don't read email if you are doing
something else (don't let an incoming mail interrupt your work, let the
phone system convey emergencies).
- Read email from time to time (at least 4 times a day, set an
- Your mail software must be configured in order to present (or let you
immediately find) complete threads
(mails belonging to a given conversation). Always respect the threading
approach, therefore answer to a message instead of creating a new one
(any new message not replying to another one must start a whole new
- Answer immediately or, if you need time to think or fetch an
information, 'tick' (mark) the message in your software, to keep it in
view. You have to answer, therefore don't procrastinate, don't let
messages stack up.
- Quote properly: don't copy the whole message received but quote (after
a '>' placed at the beginning of the line) a pertinent segment of it
then write your answer, then do the same for the next one.
- Write only in a message about a single project. Therefore don't reply
in a single mail to multiple mails not belonging to the same
thread. When a discussion about a given topic grows up you may create a
dedicated subthread of messages coping with this single topic.
- Use your software environment to benefit from its features:
- automatic splitting
configure your software in order to have it route any incoming mail to the
adequate folder. Example: set a rule
any message with a 'Subject' field
containing 'greenpeace' goes in the folder named 'greenpeace'
- explore then use your software (or an add-on) 'search' feature
- addresses and signatures management
- setting some fields in any new message, depending on the context. For
example any message created in your 'mycompany' folder will have a 'From'
field containing '<firstname.lastname@example.org>' instead of the usual
- housekeeping job
- Answering by pre-built messages or templates, quoting... Don't
systematically type (any decent software does most of those stupid
- Let confidential matters remain confidential and benefit from sealed
messages (proof of origin and integrity), therefore crypt, for example