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Sent Items and Accountability


Robby

I have to admit, I love the Sent Items folder in my email program. I keep it open all the time, with the most recently delivered messages right at the top. I keep at least a full twelve months of messages before archiving them, which might sound surprising. Why should I care about paying attention to what I’ve already said?

Two significant advantages of the Sent Items folder come to mind. First, it’s a record of accomplishment. At the end of a day, I can look and see all the work I’ve done. Every message is evidence of completing some task, or reaching out to some colleague, client or prospect. It’s easy to see why you’re valuable if you can look at any moment and see a representative sample of what you’ve achieved.

Second, the Sent Items folder provides incredible accountability. Messages are often like the children’s game Hot Potato. If someone gives me a task to do whether by sending me an email or asking in person. I’ll send acknowledgement and confirmation by email. This keeps me honest and ensures that we both have a record of commitments. Sent messages are effectively promises in written form.

The accountability of Sent Items goes both ways. If you’ve ever had someone ask you to put a project on hold, and then later had them ask you about the status of that same project, you are not alone. But if you sent an acknowledgment email after the first request, you can use this message to clarify their meaning.  After all, computers have a better memory than any of us.

Have you ever been in a situation where a Sent Item could have saved your bacon, had you thought to send it?

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Fri, March 25 2011 » Technology Tips, Time Management

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