Lately I’ve been trying to limit the e-mails during my in-box to those immediately readable on the watch’s screen, so I do not have to scroll down. I’ve achieved it several times, but it always appears to start spreading again immediately!
I’m certain I’m not the only person fighting against an ever-rising e-mail tide, and so i have asked around for colleagues’ favourite tips which came out top:
1. Discipline you to ultimately only download and browse your e-mails Two or three times each day – mid-morning and mid-afternoon could be good times.
2. Some may then be deleted straightaway, or at best put into appropriately named folders later. Only retain in your in-box e-mails which require action in order to remind yourself you’re waiting for an answer. Only keep your latest message within an ongoing exchange.
3. Be mindful with Subject box – be very specific and employ dates if required, or later you could discover yourself trawling via a long list of ‘Meeting’s or ‘Update’s to obtain the one which contains that vital important information right now.
4. Draft standard responses should you receive plenty of similar enquiries.
5. Sometimes the telephone is faster and fewer confusing, for instance if you are attempting to change arrangements and want to make sure everyone affected understands.
6. You shouldn’t be tempted to use e-mail to prevent personal contact, especially if there is already a problem – most likely someone will misinterpret the written word with no benefit of accompanying verbal tone and the body language, and also you could end up using a drama to solve.
7. Always re-read e-mails before sending them, such as the Subject box – you won’t just pick up spelling mistakes, however, you may find the content reads differently towards the way you intended.