Wednesday, February 9, 2011

E-mail filters are your friend

I have a friend. He is a nice man. He likes to send a daily inspirational e-mail to his entire mailing list. It's usually a quote from Ghandi or Zig Ziglar or Vince Lombardi about believing in yourself. Sort of the text version of that "Hang In There" poster with the kitten dangling from a tree branch. I think it's great that he's taking the time out of his day to research and send this stuff, and I know his intent is honorable. The thing is, in my line of work I get a LOT of e-mails. And at some point, I said to myself, "If I have to see another e-mail about how a smile can launch a thousand ships, I'm going to jab a pencil through my eye socket". But what to do? I could tactfully ask him to take me off his list. But that would make me look like a grinch who doesn't believe in the power of positive thinking. And this guy is higher up in the company than me. So now what?

Meet your new best buddy, Mr. E-mail filter.

Check your email and see if it has e-mail filtering capabilities. Outlook has it, Gmail has it, most email services have some way of setting up filters to automatically direct incoming e-mails where you want them to go. For instance, maybe you want all your e-mails from a specific vendor to go into a special folder where you keep all similar messages. Just set up a filter to send all messages from his e-mail address to that file and bingo- now you can quickly and easily find all related messages.

Or, you could send e-mails from a particular sender to your "deleted" folder. Just sayin'.

Our Security staff has a check in process for all external vendors where they send an e-mail to the employee the vendor is there to work for when they arrive at the property. This great if you've hired some guys to put up drywall and need to know when they get there so you can go meet them, and show them where the drywall goes. It's not so good if you're booking a salsa band to play at the lounge at midnight and you don't want to get 12 e-mails from Security telling you each band member has arrived at the club. "Hector Lopez has arrived." "Jesus Delgado has arrived." "Tommy Tucker has arrived." And so on... E-mail filter to the rescue.

Or updates from the cafeteria letting you know that today's special is salami sandwiches. Filter! Or company-wide e-mails from people you don't know announcing that they will be coming in 15 minutes late today. Filter that bad boy!

Explore your e-mail service's filtering capabilities. Get creative and be ruthless. You'll be glad you did. Oh, and by the way, Hang In There!

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