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Ricky Guzman
Prof. Christa Teston
English 309

      You’ve Got Mail: E-mail Problems and Management Strategies for The Workplace

                                            Abstract

This article researches multiple sources which investigate the growing problem of e-mail in the
business world. After the gathering, reviewing, and comparing of the material of this topic
research is conducted by the author in order to perform a condensed or shortened meta-analysis.
The goal of the modified meta-analysis as outlined by the author in this paper is in the hopes of
pin pointing and highlighting the most relevant solutions from all of the sources into one concise
idea or concept that people can put into practice. By providing the best practices, the
incorporation and implementation of policies, necessary changes needed to be taken by
individual employees, and a unique set of criteria which can be followed to ensure that the
management of one’s inbox stays under control and ultimately increases productivity and
decreases unnecessary stress caused by e-mail. The information as presented and highlighted in
this paper also allows for one to develop a heightened awareness of the severity of the e-mail
problem. The topics covered in this paper also provide valuable and insightful information to
anyone who is currently a part of or hopes to enter into the workforce. It would also be relevant
and applicable to anyone who has and uses e-mail regardless if they use it in the workplace or
just personally. The general population seems deeply integrated into the use of e-mail and would
benefit in learning how to manage it better.

                                       INTRODUCTION

The topic of e-mail abuse is investigated and discussed in numerous business articles including
magazines, journals, and newspapers across the globe. The overuse and saturation of e-mail is
like a modern day electronic pandemic. Businesses across the globe in a variety of industries are
having similar communication problems stemming from e-mail. The inherent convenience of e-
mail has lead to the excessive overuse and bombardment of messages, calendar events, meetings,
memos, newsletters, and jokes which infect the workplace. For example, one startling statistics
that was found during research conducted in this article is about how one particular company of
500 workers on average receives an amazing10,000 to 12,000 e-mails on a daily basis (Dudman,
2004). That equates to an average of 24 e-mails per day per employee. The affects are
obviously stifling and hindering individual performance and production in the workplace. The
repercussions of this so-called amenity have left the workplace in great turmoil, the likes of
which are a formula for disaster if something doesn’t change. When production and output from
employees lessens because of the distractive and time burning nature of e-mail, dollar signs for
employers and large corporations quickly vanish. I will explore the reasons why this
phenomenon in the workplace continues to grow and goes unnoticed and unaddressed.




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This modern day convenience is also affecting interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
Gary Gates, special communications advisor for General Motors Corporation, stated,
“Communication is driven ultimately by leadership and management action, not by rhetoric.”
(pg. 24, 2005). The standard of communication from an employer stand point is now in
question. From the top to the very bottom of the corporate totem pole people suffer from the
effects of oversaturated inboxes. The severity of this problem is no respecter of persons and
doesn’t skip over even the top executives in the industry. Rather than being contributors to the
management and trouble shooting of this problem they are adding fuel to an already out of
control wildfire.
One of the ways they are losing any kind of headway on this front is because the appropriateness
of e-mail seems to be mutually lost between employer and employee. The use of phone calls,
face-to-face meetings/interviews/coaching sessions, and personally addressed letters or memos
has become a thing of the past. The nature of e-mail is so convoluted, unconnected, and
impersonal from traditional business methods, that the even the basic ability to read someone’s
body language and pick up on other important visual cues often creates confusion,
miscommunication, and unmet expectations (Oberle, 2011). The appropriateness of e-mail needs
to be reconsidered in the workplace. There also needs to be a re-evaluation of other mediums,
methods, and practices used for communication in the workplace. By doing so it helps culminate
an atmosphere where the necessary cohesiveness, fluidity, and professional relationships are
established in the workplace; each has its appropriate function and practical function in the
workplace (Rombel, 2005). However, the abuse of e-mail is rarely, if ever, addressed in the
workplace as a problem and is sorely overlooked as a problem and culprit of lost time (Storm,
2003). Based upon the previously provided date from the business of 500 workers receiving on
average of 10,000 to 12,000 e-mails daily, it is also stated that the average worker spends
approximately 1 hour of every work day reading and management of e-mail (Dudman, 2004).
That means that an average of 5 hours of every work week is spent dealing with e-mail alone for
this company. That is nearly an entire day of productivity each week is being lost all because of
the vortex of lost time that is created by the misuse and unregulated practices that are being
utilized within the use of e-mail. Companies that have waged a war to incorporate some kind of
policy to thwart this giant should be applauded for being willing to take on this problem head on,
however, the e-mail problem boils down to something very simple which unfortunately is out of
companies control. The problem faced by companies is personal accountability, ownership, and
discipline that each individual employee must have in order to tame their own inbox.

There may not be one unique and single answer in eliminating this problem completely but the
research conducted in this paper has been done so that the appropriate action can be taken to
promote a necessary change in the management of e-mail. By doing so the ability to be held
personally accountable for the management of your own inbox comes from within, which seems
to be the only way to instill or promote any kind of lasting change. This change would be most
effective by seeking out help from experts on this subject to become more aware of the severity
of this problem. After becoming aware and better informed it would be vital for employers to
incorporate some kind of policy to hold its employees accountable for how they use their time,
which is ultimately company time while they are on its clock. This can be accomplished by
coaching sessions, clearly established expectations during new employee orientation meetings.
Above all else, continued follow up to ensure that it is not a meager attempt at trying to address
an issue with no lasting effect. The research outlined in this paper will assist in the presentation

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of these ideas and suggestions from the experts and allow for the development of your own ideas
and practices to manage your own inbox and for employers to implement their own appropriate
policies and procedures on how the execution of e-mail will be carried out. There are a lot of
useful materials and information that can be found on the subject but the careful selection of
sources in this paper have been done so that they may provide the most concise and the most
beneficial information toward the development of new practices and habits in the utilization of e-
mail.

Contributors That are Addressing the E-Mail Problem

There are many who are making a significant effort to the fight against this electronic onslaught
but one of the leading forerunners which has sought to help provide a cure for this electronic
outbreak is Merlin Mann (2007). Mann is best known as the creator of 43folders.com, website
about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work and Inbox Zero which stems
from an article written within 43folders.com. Inbox Zero is a masterful evaluation of problem
solving methods and solutions to tackle head on the overuse and mismanagement of e-mail. In
the Inbox Zero presentation, posted on Youtube (GoogleTechTalks 2007), Mann gives
corporations, such as Google, Apple, Yahoo, and many other well known companies, practical
strategies for managing their current e-mail problems. Mann hones in on how applicable this is
to people generally and particularly how it applies to them in the workplace (2007). One of the
things in which he touches upon is the fact that personal habits from the management, or lack
thereof, on a personal level affect the way in which e-mail is utilized in the work force. Different
ideas and topics he addresses in his presentation of Inbox Zero will be touched and built upon to
add depth and scope to the underlining topic of e-mail ownership, management strategies, and
practical application.

 Other findings will also be presented throughout this paper including citations from: Dan Costa
of PC Magazine which wrote an article within the last year that speaks about how if there is to be
any kind of progress made to beat the current e-mail problem we must take an adaptive approach
(2010), Jane Dudman of The Director Magazine who highlights the fact that companies large
and small are affected by this problem supported by some staggering statistics and proposes that
policies should be implemented to help minimize the problem (2004), Adam Rombel of the
Central New York Business Journal also chimes in about the flippant way in which we use e-
mail causes other unnecessary workplace problems (2006), Jason Oberle of the Public
Management Journal touches on how the spoken word is always more effective than that of
other forms of communication used in the workplace (i.e. e-mail) and that there is a particular
etiquette that needs to be practiced more freely in the workplace (2011), and a few other whose
prestige parallel that of those already mentioned . The facts will be presented in a way that will
allow for the reader to establish for themselves an opinion which validates and demonstrates the
relevance of e-mail as a problem, how to take accountability for your inbox, and ultimately take
action to make these best practices permanent.

                                           METHODS

In order to conduct the most appropriate way of compiling the information collected and
analyzed in this paper a condensed and simplified meta-analysis was conducted. A meta-

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analysis itself is a kind of analysis that “combines the results of several studies that address a set
of related research hypotheses. In its simplest form, this is normally by identification of a
common measure of effect size, for which a weighted average might be the output of a meta-
analyses” (2011, Wikipedia). The reason that this kind of method was chosen was because it
proved to be the most beneficial in the presentation of the research conducted throughout this
paper. This kind of approach was also taken because throughout much of my findings there
seemed to be a kind of consensus and commonality with what all of facts provided by the
sources researched for this paper. It is important to realize and to note the value there is in taking
this kind of approach to this paper.

Advantages of a Meta-analysis

There are a number of advantages to the utilization of this kind of method. One such advantage
is that due to the large number of source diversity it demonstrates the fact that there is a common
strand in all of them, which in this particular case, boil down generally to the same kinds of
problems and solutions. In addition to showing that there is a common strand in all of them it
shows that rather than there being a sole or single source to choose from that there is a
combination from a wide variety of sources, which ultimately lends to the credibility of the
method due to the fact that there is strength behind a number of sources coming to a common
consensus and making similar conclusions. Also it is beneficial because rather than over
elaborating upon a large number of sources you can condense that information by following this
method without losing its credibility (2011) For these particular reasons and advantages I have
decided to utilize this method as a way to present this information in an informative and
beneficial way.

Processes of a Meta-analysis

The way in which a meta-analysis works is much like the way in which a white paper might be
written. You would first begin by forming a questions or identifying a problem. In this case it is
the overuse and mismanagement of e-mail. You then start by researching and compiling data
and sources to find information and evidence of the problem which you identified; credible and
relevant supporting material from a variety of sources. Next what happens is the careful
selection of support sources that meet the criteria of the identified problem and throughout this
process ensure that there are not any kind of biases that could discredit or affect the claims made
in your paper (2011). Again this is the process in which has been incorporated and followed in
this paper. The problem of e-mail has been identified and then the careful compilation of
resources is collected and analyzed. After this is all done then the common threads are put
together from data collected to provide the evidence and information necessary to make a
generally acceptable conclusion from all the works. By providing this conclusion an audience
can benefit from a single answer stemming from a variety of sources. When done properly these
kinds of analyses can prove to be very effective. For these reasons the meta-analysis was
conducted in this particular paper.




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                                             RESULTS

By following the steps within a meta-analysis I was able to view a wide range of material from a
wide variety of sources, from newspaper and magazine articles to professional journals and even
a live online presentation. A total of 13 articles and lectures were used in the meta-analysis done
in this paper. Due to the fact that some of the articles found in magazines and newspapers are
considerably shorter than others found in journals and live presentations are the reasons why
there were still 13 sources used for this paper despite the fact that it is a shortened analysis. A
shortened or modified meta-analysis was done instead of following the traditional methods of
conducting a meta-analysis because of time restraints. The reason that time plays a factor is
because the ability to really dissect and demonstrate the commonalities found throughout these
sources is usually done over a long and extended period of time because of the detail that is put
into this kind of study. Because such an in depth meta-analysis, especially for one person, would
be very time consuming and tedious, I have modified or simplified it in a way that will allow for
shorter articles all providing the appropriate data and evidences so that the reader is still able to
seize upon making the right kinds of conclusions. It is important to note that I didn’t stray from
the format of this kind of analysis but I did have to shorten it in a way that allows me to be able
to present my findings in a logical and analytical kind of way despite the time restraints that I
have had to work with in order to complete this paper appropriately. My finding will still be able
to demonstrate the effectiveness of this kind of method and how they all have similar input and
insight in regard to the topic of misuse and oversaturation that e-mail is creating in the workplace
as well as shed some insight into certain steps that can be taken by businesses and corporations
to make more meaningful progress in addressing and minimizing this problem.

It is valuable and adds greater scope to the validity of this paper by explaining who my sources
are and where they come from. The reason that I picked the articles that I did was to better
illustrate two things. First, that the problem of e-mail is not unique or exclusive to the United
States; the problem of e-mail communication problems pans the globe and affects numerous
businesses that utilize it, which is nearly every single one, and especially for those that negotiate
outside of their own countries. Secondly, that this problem is not solely based in one specific
kind of industry. From stock traders to journalists and even automotive manufacturers and
landscapers, businesses are struggling with the abuse and misuse of e-mail. The sources of this
paper have previously been mentioned and highlighted in the introduction of this paper, upfront,
so that their validity would not go overlooked or underappreciated. Their relevance and
credibility will be illustrated and elaborated upon in the next section of this paper where the
findings of data and research conducted in this shortened meta-analysis can be expounded upon.

                                            ANALYSIS

Now that the identification and realization of this e-mail problem has been touched upon it is
time to expound upon the findings of the research conducted. It became apparent through the
research conducted that the most beneficial way to present the information gathered was to
perform a small scale meta-analysis of this electronic phenomena. Much of the research
collected and expounded upon in the following section stems from the ideas presented by Merlin
Mann’s Inbox Zero lecture found on Youtube (2007). Merlin Mann seemed to be a very logical
choice when investigating the topic of oversaturation of e-mail. His contributions through his

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lectures as well as online literature can be contributed to the re-evaluation and paradigm shift
many companies are making to face this problem within their infrastructure of communication.
Another important factor in utilizing Mann’s information was that he not only addresses the
concerns of other authors but then goes into more depth about how to manage problems caused
and stemming from e-mail. Mann’s audience is people first, which is where he feels the problem
stems from and can be attributed to, and secondly how that individual pertains or belongs to a
company. His goal with this article is enlightening people and helping them create a heightened
awareness of how to take control back from their e-mail, regain their attention, and get back a
hold of their lives (2007). One of the concepts touched upon is that there is life outside of e-
mail. A seemingly simple concept but it is evident that people are opening up one inbox to just
go to another. Meaning, that e-mail is so habitual at this point that we use it in the workplace
throughout a normal work day and then when it is closed you are still packing your Smartphone
or other devises that alert you when you have a new message in your personal inbox. There is no
escaping it. “People live in their inbox…” Mann states within the first five minutes of his
presentation (2007).

         Mann goes on to say that we should be, “knowledge workers, which is just a fancy way
of saying that we add value to information…and the two most important precious natural
resources” that we possess is “our time and attention…which are both finite and irreplaceable”
(Mann, 7:27 min, 2007, GoogleTechTalks). If time and attention are such valuable commodities
in the workplace why is it that the vast majority is failing to see and recognize that our time and
attention are robbed by the oversaturation and abuse of convoluted e-mail? It is partly due to the
fact that we are a part of a system that is molded that way. We are contributors to the problem
even if we don’t see it. Our subconscious falls back on what it knows. What it know is what it
has learned and been taught through either direct instruction or observation. What we see is the
use of e-mail in the workplace and assume that that is how things are done within that particular
setting and don’t think twice about the proper use of e-mail within the workplace. The need to
adapt, change, and evolve is ever present. A complete paradigm shift needs to take place in
order for there to be any kind of meaningful and lasting change. The very way in which we
utilize e-mail needs to happen.

There are those out there that seem to feel that they are impervious to the effects of e-mail and
what we often find is that they are just as dangerous as those that don’t know how use it. They
feel that their multitasking allows them to dodge certain kinds of bullets, like talking on the
phone while responding to an e-mail or trying to respond to an e-mail during a conference or
business meeting. Mann clearly states that multitasking is merely a myth (6:47 min, 2007). The
way in which we value our time and attention says a lot about who we are (6:53 min, 2007).
That message is easy to view as something that can be relayed to employers as well as other
people of significance throughout all of your relationships inside and outside of the workplace.
There is countless amounts of time are wasted on e-mail, whether sending, reading, responding,
or acting. Mann invokes a certain call to action to individuals that are coming to this realization
for the first time when he says, “honor where your time and attention go” (8:03 min, 2007). The
need to make a personalized effort in managing and taming your own inbox is of utmost
importance before any kind of meaningful change is to be made in the workplace. Just as
previously quoted by Gary Gates, special communications advisor for General Motors
Corporation, “Communication is driven ultimately by leadership and management action, not by

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rhetoric.” (pg. 24, 2005). These kinds of meaningful changes take place when the leaders of
these businesses and corporations own the problem and make the resolve to take a stance on
changing the way in which e-mail is handled within their organization. By owning the decisions
made on how someone uses their time and attention allows for a heightened awareness to what
detracts or deviates from your time and attention. When we own those decisions we map out the
other actions we take within our lives (Mann, 9:11 min, 2007).

The idea behind the creation of Inbox Zero can be broken down into three main parts. First, it is
vital to know and understand that e-mail is just a medium, a magical transference “tube” that
get’s information from one place to another. Secondly, that there is not one place for anything
and everything. The means by which your will develop some kind of system will differentiate
than the person next to you but if you develop a system to manage your e-mail and stick with it
than you will be heading in the right direction. Next, have the mindset and take the time to
process your inbox to zero. Don’t go through the arbitrary motions of checking your e-mail
without processing the information. Now where or not that is putting it in a folder, responding to
some kind of necessary action, or just deleting it, act. By doing so it helps prevent the fattening
of your inbox in the first place. Lastly, convert the information received and contained within
each e-mail to action (11:45 min, 2007). It has already been mentioned and now repeated but
only for the sole intent that the vast majority of people fail to do this step because of a variety of
excuses from laziness, to being in a hurry, lack of organizational skills, and countless more
(Williams, pg. 39, 2006).

In order to perhaps better understand what it means to process the information it is important to
realize that this entails more than just merely checking then placing out of sight and mind. A
deeper understanding of what it means to check your e-mail should bring a certain kind of
responsibility with it and carry a certain kind of weight to convert into some kind of productive
action. When you are checking on something with some kind of regularity it doesn’t just all of a
sudden become unmanageable or become out of control (15:53, 2007). Mann gives a great
analogy of a cat. It begins with you checking on a cat while a friend is out of town. Monday,
you check and the cat is fine. Tuesday comes along and things are going well. Wednesday
comes and goes, no problem. Thursday…BOOM! Cat combusts. You hope that when you
come on Friday everything will be ok. No, when there is a problem, deal with it (12:45, 2007).
The procrastination or putting off of the management of your inbox is all based on your decision
to not deal with it, so why not make the decision to take care of it in the first place.

It is important to develop the ability to prioritize and recognize what e-mail needs to be
responded to and don’t feel like you have to respond to every e-mail you receive. People in the
workplace struggle with the meaning of e-mail and what kind of action needs to be taken every
single day. Communication, the very means for which e-mail was created, is causing more
confusion and miscommunication of ideas than the transfer of information from one individual to
another. Developing some kind of checklist is important when managing your inbox. Asking
yourself questions such as, “What actions do I need to take because of this e-mail? What does
this mean to me? Where does this go?” will assist in the organization of your inbox (24:15,
2007). Steps, any steps that lead your forward are better than moving backwards. Just being
willing to take action and then most importantly, act on that.



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Through the investigation of another source it was interesting to find the perspectives of those
that provide insightful information on workplace communication problems and how whether
great or small these problems add up and snowball into a sometimes large corporate problems.
Misunderstandings or miscommunications can lead to serious problems (Storm, 2003). This
particular article comes from a business periodical but it is articulated in such a way that ideas
correlate very closely to claims and arguments that have been and will be presented in this paper.
A suggestion is made here that make a great call to action which is about having businesses
incorporate some kind of training program that can outline company expectations and policies
clearly so that companies can function more effectively and efficiently (2003).

Another thing which is touched upon is the impersonal nature of e-mail and its affects upon those
who utilize it. The never ending battle of miscommunication from the lack of body language,
social cues, and voice intonation is often confronted on a daily basis. Employees and even
managements inability to understand the proper use of e-mail are large contributors to this
massive problem (2003). This is a constant thread in many articles investigated and although
they differ here and there the underlining themes are constantly the same. The idea that efforts
are duplicated or missed all together because of e-mail is brought up as a serious workplace
issue. Again, although short, this article provides meaningful evidence as to why these as well as
many other shorter sources investigated during this process support the claims which have been
made throughout this paper.

It also became quite apparent in the research conducted that people all too often don’t know the
appropriateness of e-mail. It most certainly has its place but it has become something that is
used for everything that needs to be said instead of only what needs to be communicated. There
is a great difference (Rombel, 2006). There are other kinds of traditional methods that have been
thrown by the way side and have been overlooked, almost forgotten, yet there inherent and
effectiveness are a timeless time saving commodity. Things such as a simple phone call and
better and older yet, a face to face meeting or discussion (Grates, 2005). The ability to hone in
on all of the visual and verbal cues that are accessible during interactions such as these allow for
very little miscommunication. This in and of itself would easily eliminate more than 60% of
miscommunications that are lost in convoluted e-mail (Costa, 2010). There is a need to be able
to communicate clearly within an organization. The appropriate time and attention needs to be
invested into the development of these effective communication practices and incorporated
within a business’ policy. The following section will better illustrate and present ideas and
relevant action that can be taken to shorten this communication gap.

                                          DISCUSSION

It is evident upon review of these findings that the meta-analysis conducted proved not only
useful but a perfect means to present the evidences found in the sources throughout the meta-
analysis. The findings in this paper help illustrate that despite the fact that e-mail is a global
problem and that it is apparent in any industry that it boils down to people taking personal
accountability for their actions. Understanding that time and attention for each person is a
valuable commodity and that when appropriately valued becomes an invaluable asset to
companies. Taking a proactive approach on the management of the action in your life allows for
the progression of managing the important things in life such as, work, family, religion, and

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other extracurricular activities. This managing of action is something that is developed only by
hard work and consistency. When understood and executed it is reciprocated far beyond just the
realms of e-mail. If not, it becomes all too easy for someone to fall back into old and damaging
habits and become once again contributors to a damaging phenomenon.

It is important for people to have a healthy relationship with their e-mail. The development of a
sense of balance needs to be achieved. As an individual take the initiative to recapture that
balance within their personal life they will begin to see it flooding to the other facets of their
lives, like in the workplace. If you can master the management of your personal inbox how
much easier it then becomes to do the same with your work e-mail. In order to make any kind of
progress in a forward direction with this a system has to been developed (Mann, 5:45 min, 2007).
The development of one singular or universal system is just not effective because of the diversity
of what people work well with. It is so individualistic that trying to uniform that in to a single
concept could ultimately do more harm than good. Due to the fact that common sense is
becoming all too common these days, it would be of great import for people to call upon their
“advanced common sense” to figure out what might work best for them in the development of
their own system (9:28 min, 2007).

Merlin Mann presents five valuable things that can be done with e-mail to gain control and better
manage someone’s inbox, especially in the workplace. They are outlined in a preferable order of
operations to maximize on the effectiveness of staying in control of your inbox.

   1. Delete (or archive)- Anything that doesn’t have any place in your life, or ever will, get
      rid of it. Don’t hesitate. Just do it. If it isn’t something that needs to be deleted but has
      no place being in your inbox. If it is something that you will need in the future but don’t
      need it now put it somewhere accessible. Archive it.
   2. Delegate- Don’t be afraid to get the appropriate help with anything that could be
      delegated. If it is something that would be better or more work appropriate for someone
      else to do than pass it along. Follow up. By doing so you help convert things into action
      and action leads to getting things done.
   3. Respond- When responding make it quick and concise, easy to understand and clearly
      state what your objective is. Blow out a quick one to three line meaningful response. By
      cutting out the fluff of your e-mail the ability to minimize and eliminate
      miscommunications, as well as allow for others to maximize on the completion tasks,
      keep responses short and sweet.
   4. Defer- This is going to take some development and more than likely some outside work.
      Create a “To Respond” folder and make it a priority to work through anything that is
      place in that folder. It will require a proactive approach and to maximize on its
      effectiveness try to make sure that it is empty by the end of every day.
   5. Do- Don’t procrastinate. If there is something that can be done right now, do it. This is
      where the “advanced common sense” comes into play. Keep a separate list for tasks. If
      it is something that requires action, especially if it is not difficult (take a folder two
      cubicles down, an event to write on your calendar) do it. Be proactive (32:07 min, 2007).

There are only so many possible outcomes with the management of your inbox. Ultimately you
are going to take the opportunity to better it or you are going to continue to contribute to its

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damaging effects. Of all the things that you can do with e-mail the one thing that you cannot
afford to do with it is sit around without a reason. If you “take care of your inbox, keep it tidy,
you will respect it. If you respect it them you ultimately respect your time and attention” (47:23
min, 2007). Incredibly the research conducted in this analysis is not anything new to any
readers or even to any of the authors that published the articles that were researched, yet it
continues to be a problem. Mann states, “Ideas presented in Inbox Zero aren’t things that we
don’t already know but are things that have not been put in place yet, or made a habit” (51:45,
2007).

We have spoken in great detail about things that individuals can to do contribute to the solution
of this problem but not much about what companies can be doing to better help what is
happening right before their eyes. What would seem to be the most effective would be to
incorporate some kind of company policy that specifically addresses the expectations and
practices of how e-mail will be utilized within the company itself (Storm, 2003). These
expectations should go hand in hand with how they can enhance and not hinder the execution of
the company’s mission statement. The incorporating of company policy is just a technicality if it
is not followed up on somehow. One of the ways that could take place is by example. The
power of example is all too often underestimated and undervalued. Management should
personify and be the epitome of what kind of practices should be observed and followed when
using e-mail. Again being part of the solution and not part of the problem. If hundreds upon
hundreds of man hours are being wasted and stifling productivity due to the misuse of e-mail
than regular follow up, in a personal interview or mass meeting, should be invested in to ensure
that company’s expectations are continually being followed. Company’s management must be
proactive in helping with the management and trouble shooting of these kinds of problems. It
can only become refined and polished over time. The first steps just need to be taken for this
long journey toward improvement.

Some of the things that were not touched upon in this paper but that could be elaborated upon in
greater detail are things like the detailed process in which companies could incorporate regular
training into the utilization of e-mail, how much money is actually lost due to the abuse of e-mail
within companies, aside from just e-mail how much time is being wasted on other sites
(Facebook, Twitter, gaming sites, pornography, online gambling) and how these affect
productivity, which industry is the most vulnerable to e-mail abuse/which is most insusceptible,
how much does someone’s race or ethnicity influence the use of e-mail, or what practices have
been implemented and failed/succeeded. Any addition to this paper or study would greatly be
improved if it were to incorporate and elaborate upon these topics. I will continue to expound
upon the findings of this paper in the future.

Bottom line, do e-mail less (Mann, 52:01 min, 2007). Hold yourself personally accountable to
the management of what comes in and goes out of your e-mail. Take the necessary steps and
utilize the necessary tools that will assist in management of your inbox. Utilize templates when
appropriate. When there is a pattern in the responses that you generate then don’t be afraid to
incorporate a meaningful template that can still address the issue. Eliminate auto check or e-mail
updates. They take you off task and distract you in moments when you could be doing
something more meaningful. Don’t leave your e-mail open. Don’t be the person that just fiddles
or scrolls up and down e-mail all day. If you are not doing something to manage your time and

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create action you are wasting your time and the people that pay you. Remember to respect your
time and attention. Make a schedule that you establish of when you will check and process your
e-mail. Once you have a system in place don’t be afraid to let your mail accumulate and rely on
the system you have established and most of all stick to the schedule. Look for ways to do things
differently and that will lead to immediate action. E-mail should generate action. Make a two
minute phone call to someone to get something done rather than waste twenty minutes
explaining back and forth what you need someone else to do. Be willing to live outside of your
inbox (48:30 min, 2007). These are all important to remember and consider whether you are in
the workforce now or are going to be. When put into practice, and especially when they are
made habitual, they will allow for everyone to value their time and attention in a way that will
ultimately increase the way in which value all aspects of their lives.

                                       WORKS CITED

Costa, D. (2010). E-mail Isn't Dead, But it Is Broken. PC Magazine, 29(1), 1. Retrieved from
EBSCOhost.

E-mail data loss still a problem. (2008). Communications News, 45(8), 8. Retrieved from
EBSCOhost.

Grates, G. F. (2005). Taking Aim at Information Overload. Communication World, 22(6), 22-12.
Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Krohn, F. B. (2004). A Generational Approach To Using Emoticons As Nonverbal
Communication. Journal of Technical Writing & Communication, 34(4), 321-328. Retrieved
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Laff, M. (2009). Caution--Reply With Care. T+D, 63(9), 22. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Mail bonding. (2004). Director (00123242), 57(8), 63. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Meta-analysis. (2011, December 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:05,
December 6, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index/php?title=Meta-analysis&oldid-
465792717.

Rombel, A. (2006). Don't Let Bad Day E-mail Lead You to Problems. Business Journal (Central
New York), 20(16), 34. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Spence, R. (2008, June). "E" IS FOR EVIL. Profit. p. 18. Retrieved from EBSCOhost..

Smith, S. (2006). Email's Mid-Life Crisis. (cover story). EContent, 29(2), 20. Retrieved from
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Storm, S. (2003). Communication--it's a timeless workplace problem. Inside Tucson Business,
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Whitaker, T. (2006). Tame your e-mail inbox. Landscape Management, 45(5), 56. Retrieved
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Wht? ORLY? OIC! Text shorthand OK for fun, unfit for business. (2010). Las Vegas Business
Press (10712186), 27(21), P30. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

You Are What You Write: Six Ways to Ensure That Your E-Mail Makes -- Not Breaks -- Your
Career. (2005). Public Relations Quarterly, 50(3), 16-48. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.




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