Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Email!!!! What a Chore it Can Become!!!

Do you get overwhelmed by your email?  Do you have more than one account that you have to handle on a regular basis? - one for work - another for personal stuff?  Oh boy - do I ever!!!!

Email is the next topic on the Together Teacher schedule.  I have joined up with Kelly @ An Apple for the Teacher to work through the process of becoming a better organized teacher.  So far I can many improvements, but I still have a way to go.  The process has been wonderful, and I highly recommend reading The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin.  She does not prescribe a certain product that you have to go out and buy, but rather helps you through the process of looking at the various things that often get us into a mess.

The current chapter helps us look at email in such a way that it will no longer be our enemy!!!  I used to love to check my emails, but lately it has become such a job!!!!!!  I looked at my inbox and could not believe that I still had several unread messages from back in 2012!  What the @#$!  I have been so guilty of signing up for updates to various teaching websites, shopping sites, and just random stuff.  Then, I get so overwhelmed with the sheer number of emails I get - hundreds a day!!!  Really!!!!

I think the best advice that the author gives us is the right to Declare E-mail Bankruptcy!   Wipe that email box clean - just this once.  Start from scratch and get things set up the way it needs to be.  I know - scary right.  Surely there is something there that I really need!!  But heck, I bit the bullet and pushed that delete button!  How in the heck was I going to find what was in their anyway.  Even when I did a search I often could not find what I needed to anyway!  Will there be something I miss - probably.  Oh well!

But you really don't have to start there.  She walks you through a way to get organized without being that drastic.  You can put your emails into a folder and deal with them a little at a time.  That way if there is something there, you might find it - eventually.

The basis of the system is to set up folders within your email inbox.  She suggests a few folders, but you can adjust it to meet your needs.  Her suggestions are:

  • Follow-up - for those emails that take more than 5 minutes to address.  Make sure you also note it in your Weekly Worksheet or Comprehensive Calendar though.
  • Projects - if you have any ongoing projects you are working on.  This will help you find those emails when you need them.
  • Meetings - for agendas and other info related to different meetings you might have.
  • Administrative - for non instructional matters that you might need again
  • Processed - this is that place where you can store those old emails that you are afraid to delete.  
  • Others - these you will set up to meet your needs.
Once you have the folders set up, this is where the hard work comes into play - you have to create good email habits.  You have to decide how and when and how you will check your emails.  Don't make it a time-waster!  It should be part of your regular routine.  She has a suggested STAR method to checking emails:  
  • Scan for senders and subjects
  • Trash non-relevant emails
  • Archive relevant emails (use those folders)
  • Respond to what's left
Our author also gives us suggestions for writing better emails.  How great is that??!!!!

There is so much in this chapter, but I am just eating it up.  I wish I had found this earlier.  Maybe I would not have had to delete over 8,000 emails!!!!!!!

Let's heard about your email adventures!    And don't forget to get your copy of The Together Teacher.

1 comment:

  1. I ran across your blog, and I wanted to leave a quick comment to say hello! I am currently teaching in WV also. (Grew up in Kentucky, but began teaching in WV after I graduated). Nice to see another WV blogger! Have a great day!
    A Touch of Class