November 13, 2014

My Email Dilemma by T.L. Wiens

How many emails do you get a day? I’m swamped with them.

I have several email accounts that serve different purposes. Each one has enough emails in the day to take up all my email reading time.

It was wonderful when I figured out how to stop getting sites like Facebook sending me updates. That really cleaned up my personal email. But I still can’t keep up. Some of the emails to tell me about updates from another site are handy. But when you belong to a few groups here and there, the numbers become staggering. I seldom have a day with less than a hundred emails. I usually have at least 1500 a week.

I love belonging to groups like Inscribe but I have to say, the emails drive me crazy. It seems there are many threads which could be sent directly to the person. I’m glad we like to congratulate each other and let people know we’re reacting to their emails but could this be done on a private level rather than on the listserv?

Then there are the private emails that shouldn’t be on the listserv. If I want to talk to a specific person about a specific matter, I do it privately. It’s not only that it isn’t the right place for such a request, you never know when this request put out for all to see comes across as rude to another reader. I’ve had it happen when I’ve offered something to someone, they’ve ignored my offer and asked another person on the listserv for the very same favour.

Many people say (especially my husband) but you don’t need to read every message. That’s true but how do I know which ones do contain important information? Sometimes the subject of one thread is carried into a second thread.

With so many social media outlets these days and writers being told they must participate in these to be successful, we need to be aware of how we’re impacting our audience. I know for me, there are certain books I won’t read because my email has been flooded by an author.

We need to communicate with each other and our audience. I try to be respectful, aware where I’m sending my emails and how that social media will remind their readers about that message. I weigh the message of my emails and select the address accordingly.

I long for the day when I open my inbox and don't see a four digit number.


  1. Interesting. I probably get about 300 emails a day, but I actually like to have all my facebook notifications etc. in my email. That way I everything in one place! Here is what I do to help manage such a large amount of 'mail':

    I check the little box that selects all the emails and then I scan through the list 'unchecking' the ones I actually want to read. if I'm not sure, i uncheck it. Then I simply press 'delete' and presto! Thirty nine out of fifty disappear without any stress!

    Perhaps I have just gotten good at scanning, but I find this works very well for me and I rarely miss anything important. Free yourself from the bondage of reading every email, my friend!


  2. "... how do I know which ones do contain important information?" That's the bottom line, isn't it, Tammy? For me, important information could be someone raising a personal need that I might miss if I don't give an e-mail at least a cursory glance.

    One way I can stop e-mail traffic is to consider what I send out. I unwittingly gave LinkedIn permission to do something, and I've been flooded with e-mails to accept invitations for a week now. Still don't know what I did! LOL

    Tracy, I like your idea for a mass deletion. Talk about reducing your visual to-do all at once. I must try that!


  3. LOL I do not read them all. And I do mass deletes when I manage to get the internet working on my computer. Find it a little harder on my phone.
    For me, it really is about respect. I don't want to fill up everyone everybody's mailbox with emails when I know how many emails people get.
    I have two groups that manage emails very well. I get what I want and if I want to see more, I can. But the things coming to me are of interest. It's very nice. It's also doable.

  4. I agree, Tammy, that unless something adds to the general discussion, it might be better to respond to just the sender rather than too all.

    It's funny, but since my ListServe e-mail isn't working right, I can't reply to the general group, so I usually reply to the sender only.


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