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Where Do I Mail My Federal Tax Return

By Tanja Gardner

Depending on how you use it, email can either be a great communication tool that saves you time and keeps you from being interrupted; or the world's greatest timewaster. The fact you're reading this means you already understand the power of e-mail to communicate ideas, educate, and build skills that will benefit your business. But if you find yourself constantly stopping what you're doing to read the e-mail that just came through, or writing to friends when you know you're meant to be working, you could do with trying out our three top e-mail time management tips for today.


Many people work with their e-mail program running in the background the entire time they're on their PC, which means they get immediate notification when an e-mail comes it. Unfortunately, no matter how good your intentions and how strong your willpower, once you get that notification, it's hard to ignore. You want to check and see what the message that came through was - after all, it might be important! In reality, unless you're expecting a specific message from someone that youíll to need to act on immediately, few e-mails are important enough to sit on the edge of your chair waiting for. When youíre trying to focus on something else, stopping to read e-mail thatís just come in is simply a distraction. And you donít just lose the time it takes to read the e-mail - every time you stop, you lose your flow in your work, and lose more time getting back into it again when you're finished with the e-mail. Instead of always keeping your e-mail running in the background, consider scheduling an hour each morning, and another hour in the afternoon to check e-mail, organise it (see below), and respond to the most urgent ones. Then schedule time two or three times a week to respond to the non-urgent ones as well Ė otherwise youíll find you never quite manage to get around to them.


The usual way to respond to e-mails is 'as they come in', but this can be a time management death trap. Unless you take time to get an overview of whatís there Ė whatís important and what isnít, whatís urgent and what isnít Ė youíll be likely to miss dealing with important, time-critical e-mails, in favour of actioning things that could easily have waited.

Before you think about responding to anything, get an overview of whatís come in and separate it into three groups: e-mail that can be deleted without reading (spam, business opportunities or products youíre not interested in); those that just need to be read (e.g. newsletters, announcements, articles, course instalments), and those that actually need responding to.

Start by deleting everything you donít have to read. Then, for the e-mails that only require reading, set up subfolders to organise them. The idea is to make them easy to find them later, when youíve scheduled time to deal with non-urgent e-mail. Different people will work better with different filing systems, so choose something that fits the way you work.

Finally, glance through all of the e-mail thatís left Ė the messages that are going to require you to respond, and make a note of what needs responding to by when. Order it in terms of how quickly youíll need to respond (this morning? today? two days?), and what the consequences are if you donít manage it. Usually, e-mails from customers, prospects or team members will take ultimate precedence Ė but only you can know what the order of priority is from there. The key thing is to know whatís there, and respond in a deliberate order, rather than just working your way through it and hoping you get everything done. 3/ HAVE A REGULAR "UNSUBSCRIPTION" FEST

E-zines can be great sources of free information, tips and tricks. With so many publishers offering you valuable information, it's easy to end up subscribing to more newsletters than you have time to read. Once a month (or more often, if you need to), look at all the e-zines you've subscribed to and see whether there are any that just don't seem to be offering more value than the time it takes your to read them any more.

If you find any, politely unsubscribe from them. You may, especially if youíve been a subscriber for any length of time, want to include a short e-mail to the publisher, letting them know why youíre unsubscribing. Most of them will really appreciate this, but itís not necessary unless you want to. Generally, publishers understand (better than anyone else usually) the volumes of e-mail the average person online deals with, and theyíd far prefer you unsubscribe to their newsletter once itís no longer useful, rather than that you stay subscribed without having time to read it.

However, be aware that any *good* newsletter will have an unsubscribe link or e-mail address to contact, and clear instructions on how to use it. Please use this, rather than taking the easy way out and reporting the sender as spam. You may not realise it, but this causes huge problems for the publisher, who's only trying to provide a service for you. Do you really want to create legal problems and possibly shut the publisher down just because you didn't make use of the unsubscribe link they've provided?

So there you have it Ė three simple tips for getting on top of your e-mail. Organise your time, organise your e-mail, and organise your e-zine subscriptions. Put them into practice and see how much time you can free up for yourself!

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Tanja Gardner is a Counsellor with the Internet's #1 Personal Development site For more articles like this, visit her blog at or subscribe to her FREE newsletter at, subject=subscribe