It's early in the year, so that means it's time for resolutions. For me, there is one thing I'm really going to focus on resolving: Getting my email under control.
By that I mean, getting my inbox down to a reasonable number and following a strategy to try to keep it that way.
It's really hard to remember the time before email. When I started with Rubber & Plastics News back in early 1988, there was no such thing as email. We diligently waited for the "snail mail" to arrive each day to see what potential news stories we would chase. The mail, phone calls and faxes were the common way we got news leads.
But once email became common, over time it took over. Today our regular mail is scarce, as are faxes. Most releases and communications come through email.
While in theory that sounds like a good thing, it can be overwhelming. One report on how much time email actually consumes (an average of 17 hours a week) called it "a giant rat's nest of voracious demands on our time, energy and sanity." Another said it was the least personal form of communication, preferring calls, in-face meetings, even a written note. We all hate it, but it's an essential part of doing business, albeit a difficult one to manage.
For me, it's gotten to the point where it's past out of control. We did a poll on our website a few months back on how many emails respondents had in their inbox, and it's at least comforting to see I'm not alone. Although the No. 1 response at 37 percent was less than 100, the next most said more than 1,000 with 27 percent. A full 12 percent said they were too scared to look.