April 2012 – Email on everything

i want my email everywhere - no matter where i am on the planetI want my email everywhere!

With the ever growing dependence on email, it’s only natural that you want your email wherever you are and on whatever computing device you happen to be using (i.e., iPhone, iPad, iMac, Vostro Laptops, Optiplex desktops, home-made computers — you get the point).

It’s certainly possible to accomplish the task.  As we find ourselves consulting with clients about their  various technological tasks, we remind them of the fact that technology just isn’t perfect.  The quicker we all accept such, the better we’ll feel — and operate.

Our office

We have computers of every ilk and are about to embark on the purchase of an iPad or two (depending on how well my Apple stock performs).  For our smart phones, we use iPhones and like them very much.  One of us is more dependent on email at the computer while personally I want to have my email accessible anywhere.  In the IT consulting business, it’s just easier and looks really impressive to clients.

The Basics of email

In short, you need to determine the role of email in your business or life.  We’ve recently discovered wisdom around checking and depending on email less frequently throughout the day — some recommend checking email twice daily — WHAT!  We must share that we’ve been trying it and, overall, feel much less anxious.  There is some degree of truth in the success oriented around planning your day.  Email, since it has an addictive nature, can derail your efforts just like we find happens in Facebook (to expand, once you look at your Facebook account, you jump around looking at other things until realizing that an hour has passed and you’ve done nothing productive).

Email on your phone, computer or other?

Granted, email is a very popular form of communication and in many cases can be a source of income (i.e., travel agents who rely on email for business leads).  Personally, email is a source of questions from clients ranging from ‘how-to’ to scheduling an onsite visit. It’s more casual since I’ve learned to keep in touch by phone for important things — like emergencies.
So, I find it useful to have my email flow to my iPhone.  I can respond to email that seems urgent (but again, not an emergency).  Overall for me however, I use my iPhone to quickly eliminate email that I know I do not  need (i.e., a sales email from Best Buy — I’ll shop when I’m ready not via and email alert — that’s just my approach).  I use my iMac as my base camp for email management, organization, storage, etc.  It’s the place I want to have everything organized so that I know where it is for future reference.
Optionally, I find it useful to have web access to email when I am on the road in distant cities.  I can, for instance, check email from a  hotel computer and respond with a full keyboard.  I must keep in mind that the response should be short and not necessarily of content that I want to keep at ‘base camp’.  It the email chain is important, I BCC myself so that I can store it when I am back at base camp.

What we’ve seen so far

Many are jumping at the chance to be in the ‘cool crowd’ and float on the iCloud (or other cloud based solutions).  It is indeed a phenomenal concept.  There are challenges to using this approach (at least as of this writing in April of 2012) that are more than some can tolerate (for instance, the recent challenge is that email ‘vanishes’ when using iCloud/IMAP — this is not anecdotal and is indeed happening regularly).

To consider as you go forward

Base Camp – if it’s important to store email somewhere, treat one of your systems as the source, central location or your base camp.  The concept may not work in the initial phases of your expedition, but over time becomes a place where you can find email that is important and necessary (i.e., emails that are related to a purchase of your Abercrombie summer tee collection).

Email on your phone – depending on how you approach it, your phone can become overwhelmed with old email.  It can also, while trying to help you, erase email after a certain time period has passed.  Thus, treating it as a transitional element may be a better approach.  Not to say that your world cannot be managed by an iPhone or other smart phone though.

Is your email critical to your success? – if the answer to this question is yes, you must ensure you have a plan to manage your email.  If you receive a large number of email daily, the process of management can become overwhelming — not to mention difficult on a smart phone.  Thus, a plan becomes important.  Not all approaches work for everyone, so you need to determine a way that works for you and your life / business.

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Email Settings – Setup your email

EMAIL SETTINGS FOR OUTLOOK

Settings vary based on the version of Outlook you are using.  The version differences are outside the scope of this document for now.

Google

GMAIL – IMAP – For IMAP users, look here

Godaddy

Outlook 2010 – Godaddy settings

iCloud

This is a topic of it’s own and we are working on it here.