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Boost Your Effectiveness – Be In Command of Your In Box

March 6, 2010

By Paula Pollock

How many really interesting articles, blogs and feeds go unread in your inbox? If you’re like most people, you need information to stay current in your business.  In this economy competitive edge is important, but so is productivity.  So, how do we manage the influx of important information and research to stay ahead of the pack?  

Here are some ways to find and manage all the information without taking up your entire day.

Get a Reader – Not someone to read for you, a news feed reader.   Google Reader and many others are great for staying on top of your news without clicking all over the place or filling your inbox.  If you use a custom browser homepage, I highly recommend choosing their reader of choice.  When you go to a blog or a news site, look for the universal feed icon or RSS.  That will subscribe you to that feed and the next time that publication posts something new it will arrive in your reader without any effort from you. You can read it at your leisure.

Customize Your Browser Page for Daily Sorting – Take the time to pick and choose the elements you want to see each day on your home page and edit it often.  I use Google and have all my favorite newspaper feeds plus local weather, traffic, TV listings and other things I like to see each day. I can get caught up in one location when I open my homepage.  Yahoo, MSN and others have this feature. 

Subscribe and Unsubscribe Regularly – If a site becomes less relevant, unsubscribe.  You will unclutter your inbox and help their open rates!  I reserve my subscriptions for things that are not available via a feed or special offers. Others go into my reader.

Use Folders and Rules – People looking over my shoulder while I use my laptop often exclaim, “Wow, you have a ton of folders.” I can’t speak for Apple users, but I use MS Outlook and use its Inbox folders and Rules generously. Emails sort themselves into the appropriate folder upon entry.  I can check priority folders often and others when I have time.

Consolidate Your Social Media – Almost all the sites are allowing you to use their platform to update others, but few allow you to read them all. I’ve tried many different platforms.  Since I like the main sites, I added each of my home pages to my browser’s home pages (so they load when I log in) and I’ve added the Shareaholic add-on to my Firefox browser.  When I have 30 seconds, I check one or another for activity.  If I read something on my reader worth sharing I send it to the appropriate platform. When I’m feeling chatty, I use Ping.fm to update multiple platforms at once.

Use Your Phone’s Applications – I’m assuming you have evolved to a smart phone of some kind.  Actually, I find some of my Android applications better to keep me consolidated.  If you like something on your phone, search its developer online and see if they have something for your desktop too.

This is a short list that might help you organize yourself better online.  It’s not easy, but if you try to tackle a little each day or even each week you will clean up that inbox and gather your information so well you will be amazed at how much more you can process. 

Paula Pollock is CEO of the Pollock Marketing Group, further assisting good companies in becoming great through outsourced marketing services and small business coaching and implementation. Sign up to receive her weekly Marketing Tips newsletter at www.paulapollock.com.

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