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Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff

Most of us face the overload of communications that affect anyone with an online presence or at least access to a computer and an e-mail account. One of the tasks we confront is dealing with that incessant flow of information while keeping some time to ourselves and without going crazy addressing that flow. Naturally, this problem is exacerbated when we factor in job-related accounts and their associated demands on top of our personal items.
Sometimes it is very quick and easy to dismiss a communication: those consisting of a single number or letter, or perhaps a string of them; those with the salutation “Dear Sir or Madam”; those with nonsensical subject lines (e.g., please send me your mailing address, the best stock to buy now, your (choose one) food, vitamins, shampoo, medications are killing you); and so on and on. It is amazing how inventive those senders are and how utterly worthless their messages.
Unfortunately, those e-mails are only the tip of the iceberg and many e-mail providers have grown more sophisticated at identifying and segregating these items we loosely term spam. At the other end of the spectrum are those e-mails we clearly want and expect to receive and will handle sooner than later. These are, naturally, most e-mails from family members, those coming from your boss and clients or customers, and those regarding transactions or business you have initiated or expect (doctor’s appointments, billing statements, confirmations and more).
Then comes the gigantic middle of the flow which is mostly worthless but occasionally contains information you want to see. The issue here is how to get the messages you want and need and not waste time on endless marketing gimmicks or those e-mails which send you the same “important” investment stories over and over again. One trick is to assign the senders to your spam folders or subfolders and only take a look say once a week or less often. Another approach is to apply your own rules as to importance of messages – if it is really important and needs your attention, that message will be repeated or there will be a follow-up via a different medium (phone call, text, even snail mail). Bottom line: squelch that senseless fear of missing out.


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