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Avoid the E-mail Trap

If there's one thing that kills my work life balance, it's e-mail. I love receiving e-mail. Most of the time. But I just haven't mastered the art of organizing it. (Confession, I have almost 5,000 emails in my Inbox)

Earlier this year, productivity guru David Allen said to me: "I don't know anyone whose job is reading email. It's not what we are getting paid to do." I try to think about that and be more efficient with how often I check email.

I also recently read an article in Inc Magazine about Mark Cuban, an effective billionaire CEO who communicates almost entirely with his staff by email.

Certainly, our use of email is a topic of debate.  Many of us complain about being overworked. But have electronic communications made us more efficient or just given us new ways to kill time and think we are busy?

Today, I read an interesting post onThe Ethical Workplace Blog with some great tips. In light of the flood of e-mails that are wasteful, distracting, improper and risky, here are some questions posted by Stephen Paskoff is president and CEO of Atlanta-based ELI Inc. to consider about how we’re using electronic communications:

 Before sending an electronic message, ask yourself:

• Is this message really necessary?
• Is this the best way to communicate this information?
• Would I want this message to last forever?
• Is it OK with me if anyone in the world read this e-mail?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it may be best not to send the message(s).