It's in the mail

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E-mail is supposed to save time. Yet a recent survey shows executives are spending an average of 108 minutes — or nearly two hours — a day reading and sending messages electronically.

The survey, developed by Accountemps, included responses from 150 executives with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

“E-mail is among many technologies that are increasing the pace of business and creating expectations for faster turnaround,” says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of “Managing Your Career for Dummies. “Ironically, the very tools designed to save time might actually be adding to the number of hours we spend working.”

To reduce time spent reading and sending e-mail, Messmer suggests the following:

1. Resist the temptation to read each new e-mail as it arrives. Instead, read and respond to messages several times throughout the day.

2. Keep your writing clear and concise. If your message is too complicated for a brief e-mail, consider another form of communication.

3. Organize incoming e-mail into folders labeled for easy retrieval. Don’t leave old messages in your inbox.