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More efficiency tips for coaches: Dealing with more than one email address and other communication ideas
Dare I say it? Email is treated as if it's a dinosaur of the technological age. With text messaging, WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber, and dozens of other messaging apps available why does anyone use email anymore? It used to be that we lived in our email inboxes but now some of my colleagues and correspondents only check their email after I send them a text message saying 'Hey, I sent you an email!'
Why is this? Email is still the most useful tool for important communication. Seriously, what can you do with an attachment in WhatsApp? But here's the thing: Email requires us to login to sometimes several different accounts to check all inboxes. It is this added burden, I think, that sees more and more people relying on inadequate or inappropriate services for business communication simply because the apps are easier to use. (A similar though separate issue is people using Facebook to replace websites. When you think your Facebook page is a website you have lost touch with reality and may need counseling.)
Unlike phone numbers we can use email accounts for different reasons so having more than one email address usually makes sense. The solution to the avalanche of human misery caused by having to log into more than one email account is to have one master account that automatically checks all of your other accounts and imports any emails into the master inbox. Most email providers like Google and Yahoo support this service as well as email apps like Outlook, Thunderbird, and Mail.
It takes only a few minutes to set up this kind of service and once it's done all of your email will appear in the master inbox no matter which account it comes from. Of course this doesn't force you to check your email, which apparently some people are loathe to do, but it is a step in the right direction.
If you want to make your email even easier to check use Gmail or Yahoo as you email provider and set up your browser to automatically open your email account when you launch your browser.
Another strategy would be to discard old email addresses that you no longer use. This is easier said than done though when you think about trying to remember all of your accounts and digging up old passwords. Sometimes it's easier to just walk away and simply ignore old, unused accounts.
The point is that email is still an important communication tool and should not be discarded just become some apps are easier to use, or that our email environments have become cluttered with a plethora of useless addresses. The apps don't provide the same functionality as email and it bugs me that some people are convinced that sending a picture of a document is the same thing as sending the document itself. It's not, and if you already believe this then communication is never going to be one of your better skills.
We've all dealt with unorganized individuals or people who seem to have just a few too many things going on to really concentrate on anything in particular. Coaching is an exercise in attentional focus. We need to keep our eye on the ball lest our athletes miss out on vital training content. This means we shouldn't clutter up our lives with inefficient work practices. Getting our personal administration practices together is one way to minimize distractions and help us focus on what's important.
Bill Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the owner and Chief Data Scientist at Sportkid Metrics.