I like to call e-mail the fax of the 90’s. You don’t know if it was delivered or read and have little or no expectation of a response. Worst of all it is an annoying waste of time that is archaic and bad for business.
No matter what the role in an organization, your primary job duties and goals are not to answer e-mail for an hour each day. Give everyone an extra 45 minutes or more a day and do these productivity things:
- Delete, forward/assign, file, or respond within 15 minutes and try to run your inbox down to zero each day.
- Right-click and move follow-up e-mails and event reminders to your calendar.
- Save attachments network folders or portals so others in the organization can access and you don’t clog your mailbox.
- Spurious little questions or short ping-pong conversations should done with Instant Messaging and not e-mail.
- Use a short descriptive subject and make sure your signature is automatically added to every e-mail with your name, title, and phone number.
- Set rules to automatically file, forward, or respond to common correspondence.
- Send a text message rather than an e-mail for status updates. Don’t carbon unnecessary recipients on messages or forward jokes or chain letters.
- Be proactive and send a meeting request with a note to propose an alternative as necessary instead of a passive introduction or query that requires several more follow-up messages.
- Answer your phone, build relationships, and make decisions instead of ignoring people or responding with cowardly e-mails. Those pesky sales people will both appreciate and stop bothering you when you say it’s not a fit.
- Try to check your e-mail only a couple of times a day and focus on doing productive work for longer periods of time getting back to trying to meet some productivity goals (either personal or formal).