Aug 02, 2016

3 Lessons the US Coast Guard can teach you about managing your email

3 Lessons the US Coast Guard can teach you about managing your email

The US Coast Guard celebrates its 226th birthday this week. For 226 long years, this wing of the Department of Homeland Security has safeguarded US maritime interests in the heartland, in the ports, at sea, and around the globe. They protect maritime economy and the environment, defend maritime borders, and save those in peril. In honor of the committed men and women who serve with the USCG, we'd like to focus on the US Coast Guard motto this week - Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready. Here are 3 ways you can be always ready while managing your email.

1. Understand how your email client works
It is common military strategy to know your enemy thoroughly. As Sun Tzu says in The Art of War, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” By the same logic, if you want to spend less time with your email, try and understand how your email client works. Figure out shortcuts, hacks, timesavers and even the bugs (so you know what to avoid). To start you off, here's a video to help you discover the hidden nuggets that Gmail has to offer and one more on the very handy tips and tricks in Outlook 2016.

2. Unsubscribe brutally
When a defense unit is faced with a military problem, the usual approach is to first identify the underlying issue and then proceed to formulate several strategies and backup plans that will help them decimate the problem and win. A similar approach can be adopted towards your email. You must have noticed by now that if you leave your mailbox unattended for a day or two, it could devolve into a chaotic creature with a mind of its own. A closer look will show you that most of the chaos stems from newsletter subscriptions that seemed important when you signed up for them, long ago. Now that you have identified the issue, eradication and / or prevention becomes easy. Simply be ruthless about unsubscribing from all subscriptions that you no longer have the time for or the inclination to read. If you're balking at the thought of going through each individual newsletter in your mailbox to unsubscribe, just use a service like and get rid of all of them at one go or at least compress them into digests that will reduce the volume of incoming messages.

3. Figure out a system for high priority messages
Even in the thick of battle, communication is considered most important. If the commanding officer's orders are lost or received late, it can be disastrous for a military unit. A similar situation prevails in the business scenario when important messages are lost in inbox clutter. Stay prepared for this eventuality by working out a system to manage this with your boss / team / clients or whoever it is you receive high priority messages from, on a regular basis. Agree that if the issue at hand needs to be dealt with immediately, communication must be via phone, text or chat, rather than email. If a communication trail is absolutely necessary, a follow-up email can be sent later. This way, you reduce the number of priority messages that can get lost in an overflowing mailbox. An easier method of course is to get yourself an Add-In like FewClix that can cut through inbox clutter and ensure you never miss an important email again.


Click here to get the FREE FewClix Personal Edition and stay in control of your mailbox and your time!

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