Today's Money Programme (on BBC2 at 19.00 for UK viewers), is on the subject "Email is ruining my life". The BBC website carries an outline of the programme which includes these top tips from Loughborough University's Dr Tom Jackson.
He has spent the last nine years researching and developing better e-mail practice and has five tips he believes can help you take control of your inbox:
* Invest in a spam filter. You shouldn't open a spam e-mail, because as soon as you open the e-mail up, it notifies the organisation that has sent that, saying this is a valid e-mail address. They know how long you've looked at it, when you looked at it and did you go back to it.
* Target your e-mail. One of most annoying things about e-mail is the sheer number of messages we receive that aren't addressed primarily to us. Does everyone in the cc box really need to be copied in on your words of wisdom? Basically, a cc is there for information purposes only, and you should only use it for that purpose.
* Write more carefully. The reason to write carefully is crystal clear. It just vastly increases the chance that whatever it is you want to get done will get done. If you don't write carefully, there's room for misunderstanding.
* Reduce interruptions. I think it does start to stress people out. Simply by changing the way they have their e-mail application set up, they can start to reduce some of that stress.
* Get training. E-mail seems like common sense. Anyone can write an e-mail. But the issues we're having are that many people are struggling with e-mail communication - and training can really help with that.