A couple years ago I wrote this article but thought it is even more pertinent today as more and more of our lives involve the use of technology. In the last 20 years most jobs have changed dramatically because of technology and its advances. An example of this can be seen in the simple form of email.
As I think about the amount of time email is a part of my life and a part of my work, it is amazing that I have never taken the time to learn how to be more effective with email.
On an average day I receive about 50-75 emails and spend a significant portion of each day interacting and reading through these short little messages. Approximately 30 percent of my day is spent reading and writing emails.
As I think about the amount of time email is a part of my life and a part of my work, it is amazing that I have never taken the time to learn how to be more effective with email. We make the assumption that since email is just the writing of a short note that there is not much to it and that doing it well is intuitive.
Below is a list of tips taken from an article on how to be more effective with email. The tips are quite simple and yet if followed can dramatically improve your emailability (made-up word but let’s see if it catches on).
- Turn off automatic notification of incoming email. Email is not a telephone and should not be interrupting and distracting you from the tasks you are working on.
- Establish specific times during the day when you can focus completely on checking and taking action on messages, and use that time to deal thoroughly on what’s come in.
- If you know you can’t respond to a message for several days, acknowledge receipt with a quick email giving a sense of when you’ll get to it.
- Make messages you send easy to digest by writing a clear subject line and starting the body of the email with the key point.
- With very short emails, put the message in the subject line and end it with “eom” (end of message).
- Minimize back and forth by making a suggestion rather than asking an open-ended question (“When should we meet?”)
- Minimize the use of “Reply to All” so you don’t burden colleagues with unnecessary emails (some companies have disabled the Reply to All function).
- Finally, send fewer emails. Each email message generates on average two responses – which then have to be read and dealt with.