If you interact with more than three people at work, and especially if you are in a matrix management position, do you find it difficult to answer the following question:
Who still owes me a reply to a message I sent?
Unless you have a system to track the requests you send via email, only when you actually need the information as input to another task, will you remember, for example, that Jim hasn't reviewed those figures you emailed him last week. At this point, if the response hasn't arrived, it's almost too late because you cannot get on with your own work, and your own schedule and commitments are affected.
Here's a trick for keeping track:
- Create an Outlook folder called "Waiting For Answer".
- Whenever you write a message that requires an answer, use SpeedFiler to file the outgoing message in the "Waiting For Answer" folder.
- Check the contents of the "Waiting For Answer" folder a few times a day, and remove the messages that have received a response. If it's getting close to when you need a reply and it still hasn't arrived, it's time to send a reminder…