Brilliant Email

I don't know about you, but emails give me a pain in the neck. Ever since leaving my job as a Times journalist to venture into pastures new, the stress-induced aches in the neck and shoulders have magically disappeared.

What I now realise is that coping with a constant stream of emails - in my case up to 150 a day - was a major part of the burden of office life, and at fault was my failure to manage them.

The subtitle of Monica Seeley's book: "Brilliant Email: how to win back time and increase your productivity" is what I've been striving for over the years and with her invaluable advice, I'm getting there.

Brilliant Email is simply written and jargon free. Chapter headings are logical and to the point, with at-a-glance tips on how to manage your inbox. In ten minutes you will able to home in on the problems you have with your own particular email (mis)management and fix them.

My biggest time-waster was email addiction. I just didn't know when to leave them alone. Seeley's advice is to limit the number of times in a day you check mail. Fix set times and, where possible, stick to them, thereby freeing up time to focus on other things. It's not as easy as it sounds; you have to be disciplined - but it does work.

Be an inbox auditor. If you are constantly scanning emails and deleting them, you neither need the email, nor can afford the time it takes to get rid of them. Tell people politely but firmly that you no long need their emails. Unsubscribe yourself from newsletters. Make use of 'rules' and folders to prioritise efficiently.

Seeley asks if all the emails you send are really necessary and are they the best way to communicate? How about old-fashioned face-to-face communication?

The best solutions are always the simple ones, and unsurprisingly, the author's answer to reducing stress at work is what many of us know already but haven't paid enough attention to. So take Seeley's advice on how to manage your inbox properly and get rid of that pain in the neck.

Julie Daniels is founder of Nutshell Video, a corporate video production company