Efficient Ways of Restricting Spam’s Entry in Your Inbox

Spam would probably be the most galling source of online communication. Infamous as an abuse of electronic messaging systems, SPAM is the email that you never asked for. Generally, spam is commercial advertising tool used for doubtful products aiming at enticing recipients with get-instant-money schemes, or quasi-legal services. In addition, these emails are extensively cheap for the sender as the expense, at large, is paid by either the recipient or the carriers.

Mainly, there are two types of spam with dissimilar effects on Internet users. One is the cancel able Usenet spam, where a single message is sent to a group of people and second is the Usenet newsgroups, which directly focus on “lurkers” i.e. people who read newsgroups but hardly submit their addresses. There is no trick or technique that promises complete redemption from spam but there are certainly a few ways to control or rather restrict the entry of many spam in your Inbox.

o Never share your email addresses with unreliable sources. Such a situation mainly occurs in case of websites, where your email address is asked for gaining some information. So, for this purpose, make an exclusive email address on hotmail or Gmail, where junk would not bother you much.

o Avoid replying to any mails that you never asked for.

o Mostly, a spam message holds information regarding its removal from the mailing list. Do not follow this information and totally overlook your enticement of responding it because it is basically an alert regarding your active email address.

o Ensure to check the subject line before opening any email.

o Avail software that is designed to fight against all sorts of spam. Moreover, along with an anti-virus installed on your computer, also swear not to open any unknown attachments from unsolicited mail as viruses can be present in pictures or Word documents. A number of emails get shot with the purpose of demanding some funds or assistance. Try to avoid these emails and do not forward them further since they could be merely a scam to gain as many number of email addresses as possible. Also, many emails warning concerning viruses are hoaxes too, so investigate them well.

o While forwarding a mail to a heavy number of people, make use of BCC field as it gives you the option of hiding email addresses.

o Totally avoid mentioning your name in chats, newsletters and mailing lists and maintain another superfluous name for such purposes.

o If your website has the option of providing your email address, then try to encode it to prevent spammer’s web crawlers so that it cannot crack the code. You may also use “Enkoder”, an efficient free of cost encryption program.

o Register a complaint to the ISP of the spammer through an email message to their administrator. Most of the servers mention an email address in the WHOIS part of the IP address. So, dig well in the email’s header and find out source of the IP address, and then begin with the WHOIS hunt.

Your Email Inbox – How to Empty It – How to Keep it Empty

At the rate we get email these days, there is only one way to stay ahead of it: empty your in-box every day-perhaps even several times a day. If you do, you won’t drop important actions, you won’t waste as much time, and most importantly, you will feel marvelous. And with the right approach, it is not that hard to do!

Why an Empty Inbox?

Why am I such a strong proponent of keeping the email in-box clean? Well, the email in-box was designed to play the role of receiving email, not the role of a bulk filing system, and not the role of a task management system. Yet we try to use it all those ways, and that leads to problems.

A cluttered in-box represents a congestion of unattended responsibilities, responsibilities that weigh on your mind. Emptying the inbox every day relieves that congestion-and mental weight-in a very noticeable way. It also makes you more efficient, because without clearing your in-box, you’ll be constantly glancing through old mail in search of passed over to do’s and unfiled information. It saves you time and reduces mental distraction because it allows you to clearly delineate between the mail that needs further processing and mail that you no longer need to review.

Why is My In-box Always Overflowing?

The reason our in-boxes get so full is not just that we get too much mail to read.

You see, the real problem is not with reading email but rather with doing email. Reading spam or unneeded cc’d mail (colleague spam) is not what bogs down our ability to get through the in-box; while those are annoying, jumping over or deleting those takes only seconds. No, it’s the relevant email that bogs us down. Reacting to meaningful email, with potential actions for us to do, is what makes us skid off track-it kills a huge chunk of our day! The trouble is that we don’t have a natural way to prioritize our reactions to mail like this; instead we try to do it all, and our in-box and workday spin out of control.

Solution: Convert Emails to Tasks

The solution to this problem is to do this: don’t take significant actions on emails when you first read them (unless truly urgent or truly quick). Instead, put those actions on your to-do list, and continue to read or scan to the bottom of your new email. Then work tasks off your to-do list, not out of your in-box.

If you use Microsoft Outlook, this is especially simple, as that software includes easy ways to convert emails to tasks. Those new tasks even include the text and attachments from the email-you’ll never need to search for the original email.

With Tasks “Handled” You Can Now File Your E-mail

And here is the most important point. Conversion to tasks removes the unattended responsibilities from your in-box since now all your email actions will be in a place where you can track and manage them appropriately: your prioritized to-do list. With email tasks all managed, you can now finally file and empty your inbox. You’re no longer hanging on to unreconciled email requests-such mail actually locks your in-box, so set it free! Once tasks are managed, all mail in your in-box is purely informational and can now be dismissed. Once this is a habit, you’ll be able to empty your in-box daily.

The Best and Easiest Way to File Mail

Next, if you truly are going to empty your in-box every day, then you are going to need a very easy and very fast way to file mail, and here it is: after reading mail and extracting tasks, drag everything into one single folder!

“What?” you may say. “Wait, I need to file my mail by topics! I need to identify it, classify it, and subdivide it! Otherwise how will I find my mail later?”

Well, in the past, topic filing may have been the way to go, but these days a full text search engine is all you really need.

Full Search Really Is All Most People Need

Full text searching is what I mainly use, and I assert that it will work for nearly all your needs as well.

I find that when using a high-quality indexed full-text search engine (as is built into most webmail, like Gmail, and built into later versions of Outlook), I can normally find mail within a few keyword attempts. Due to the indexing, the searches are blindingly fast, and so I can cycle through a number of different search terms quite quickly. I have never needed to spend more than a minute or so searching for mail this way. In fact, I usually find the item in just a matter of seconds.

And simply dragging mail to one folder saves a ton of time that you would normally spend on selectively filing by topic. And let’s face it, half the time when you file by topic you cannot find it anyway!

Rule of Thumb

That said, there are some industries or professions that really do need topic-based filing. Legal firms, for example, often need a way to definitively show the entire collection of email associated with a given client or case, and so a simple search may not be the way to go; they need the assurances of a topic-based filing system.

This leads me to a rule of thumb on the few times I feel topic-based filing is required, versus when a full-text search approach on bulk mail is adequate. Perhaps this rule will help you. If you ever feel you’ll need to retrieve and display exhaustively all email associated with a given topic, then use a topic approach. You might need to do this, say, to transfer a collection of mail to someone else or to another server. However, if your intention is just to be able to find individual emails or related emails (the need most of us have), then I recommend you do not waste the time it takes to file email by topic. I’d rather see you save that time, file quickly in bulk, and rely on the full-text search at search time. You can gain quite a bit of time back in your workday this way, with no loss of control.

Get Started Today

So get started today. How? First, start converting e-mails to tasks so you stop trying to use the in-box as a task manager-this will unlock your in-box. Next, create a single filing folder (I call mine the Processed Mail folder), and, after extracting tasks, move all read email into it. If you do these two simple things, you will enjoy the bliss of an empty in-box and be smiling from ear to ear!

How to Find a Legal Marketing Mentor

As I always tell my clients, legal marketing should be more of a habit than a burden. It should be so completely integrated into your daily life that it’s merely second nature to put something business development-oriented on your schedule. That being said… everyone needs a little guidance. With social media on the upswing and the reach of the Internet at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to find a marketing and business development mentor-whether it be in person or online. Here are a few ideas to consider on your search…

The Traditional Route-The easiest way to find a legal marketing mentor is to look around. Who do you know in your firm (or other firms) who has impressive legal marketing skills? Make a list of the people who use marketing and business development to their best advantage and get in touch. Take them to lunch, ask their advice, pick their brain. I would be willing to bet the person in question will be flattered to offer their suggestions.

Gather A Group-They say there’s safety in numbers, but could there also be success? I think so. Look around at your friends and colleagues and make a list of those who might be open to a weekly or monthly marketing roundtable. Plan to meet at specific times (Brunch? Lunch? Drinks?) and have a set agenda for discussion revolving around marketing and business development. Share tips and ideas, help each other with referrals, discuss what’s working…and what’s not, and recommend interesting blogs, books and articles that can help each of you succeed.

Go Virtual-With the plethora of information out there on the Internet it’s easier than ever to find a virtual mentor. Most legal marketing experts (myself included) have blogs and Twitter accounts designed to share advice and strategy on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Sign up for their feeds and mailing lists to have mentor-level information delivered directly to your Inbox. The key here is finding someone you connect with…even on a virtual level. Where my focus is always straightforward, simple strategies to incorporate every day, others may focus on client service, technology, or new media. Subscribe to a few and see which fits best into your own mindset. Then develop a relationship. E-mail questions, comment on blog posts and keep your mentor updated on your successes.

Start Slow-If you’re looking for the simplest way to get started with a potential mentor there’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned book. Browse your local bookstore for best-selling marketing and business development books or read Amazon.com reviews to see what author suits you best. Once you’ve connected with someone’s voice and ideas it should be easy to find him or her online and (as mentioned above) get daily reminders and advice to keep you on track with your plans. No time to read? I have been a longtime fan of books on CD. Keep one in your car, office or home and put in on in the background, the information is bound to sink in!

Finding a legal marketing and business development mentor can be an incredibly helpful tool in furthering your knowledge and gaining valuable insight from someone who’s been there and done that. The real work comes in finding that person that gels with who you are, what you do and where you want to go; but once you do, it’s a short road to new ideas, strategies and results!