In my last post I talked about how to cut down on garbage email and get control over your inbox. Besides dealing with email spam the other problem with email is what you do with email after you read it. Do I keep it, file it, delete, etc.?
What I’m about to share is not new information. But I find that not all church professionals keep up with what is going on with technology and how it can help them in their administrative duties in the church.
If you use Outlook on a PC or Mac or Apple Mail or some other email client you are kind of encouraged to create folders and save emails. But which emails do you save? Have you ever had it happen that in a week or two you are looking for a email that you didn’t think you needed and now it is gone? Well the solution may seem non-intuitive if you are used to traditional mail. So here is how I make sure I never lose an important email.
Gmail is a service of Google which gives you a huge amount of storage for email. Many companies are in fact using gmail as their email service using Google for business setups. In fact the Iowa Annual Conference of the UMC has decided to provide an email address for all Iowa Conference clergy so that when we change locations and churches (after all we are itinerant) they can still find us at the same email address. The address all end @iaumc.net but it is actually a gmail inbox.
Gmail provides so much storage space that you probably never ever have to delete a message. Instead when you are done reading the message you “archive it.” Now there may be advertising email you want to send to the trash. But any email you might even remotely want later you should archives.
What if you don’t use gmail? Well then I would encourage you to consider setting up a gmail account and then forwarding all of your email to the gmail address for storage. You can set up a filter in gmail so that it leaves those emails in the gmail inbox or even automatically archives them for you. Then if you want one of those old emails you log into your gmail account just to search out the email you are looking for. You don’t have to give out this gmail address. You can just choose to use it as a storage location for email for free. Gmail’s search is powered by Google and you can search by content, sender, reciever, date, etc.
If you are a gmail user you can have all of your email forwarded to your gmail account from whatever address you own, even set up aliases for those address and use gmail as your inbox for all your email.
If you happen to be a Macintosh Computer user a great app for mail using the gmail interface but in a window that is dedicated just to gmail accounts is Mailplane. If you use an iPhone I’d recommend “Mailbox” by the company that owns Dropbox or “Boxer,” which I mentioned in the previous blog.
Everyone once in a while I hear someone share a concern about Google having all your email. What about Privacy? Well let me give you a word of caution. No email is ultimately private. When you send an email it goes out over the internet through your ISP through servers on the net and to your receivers ISP. Your email is stored somewhere on the internet. Also you never can be sure the person you send an email to won’t forward that email to someone else. I always encourage people to conduct sensitive private conversations in person outside of email. No matter what email service you use do not ever email something that you wouldn’t want to see as public information. This goes double for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of social media. If it is private, don’t post it.
If used properly however, email and services like gmail are very helpful for the busy church leader to keep track of her or his corrospondance.
Edit – An additional word. If you are using the iaumc.net or other organizationally owned gmail account you shouldn’t forward your personal email to that account as it violates to terms of service for the account. Business accounts should only be used for business email. Set up an individual personal account to do what I’ve suggested above.