Billions of emails are sent every day, and some days if feels like they all land in your mailbox. Uncontrolled, email, and its repeated interruptions, can become a distraction from your work.
1 – When you want it:
Unless you are expecting a critical or time-sensitive message, don’t handle emails as they come. Depending on your daily volume, set up fixed times, or even make it a habit to check your email as you move from one task or project to the next. Disable your alerts if necessary.
2 – On your screen once:
Any one email should only hit your screen once and be processed. Whether it is replied to, discarded, printed, or filed away in a project or archive folder, you should process it the first time and move it out of your inbox.
3 – Format it:
Unless you have corporate standards, write your emails how you would prefer to receive them. Use greetings. Make the subjects rich and explicit. Sign your emails. Provide your contact information. Use correct grammar. Do not write all in caps. Be courteous.
4 – Thread carefully:
Keep your emails focused. Multiple revisions of a same document with multiple threads of discussions and multiple round trips between parties are not best handled via a single email. When necessary, send more than one email to the same recipient and request that they stay on topic in their replies. Or, when you sense confusion, pick up the phone, reframe the discussion, and resume your email from there. And, make it possible for your email recipients to do the same by providing them with your phone number or instant message contact in your signature.
5 – They don’t all want to know:
When receiving an email addressed to multiple recipients, don’t reply to all unless all would benefit from your email. It wastes time for all and does not speak well about your email etiquette.
6 – Empty your inbox:
Your don’t leave mail in our physical mailbox, to attend to it someday. There is no benefit in leaving email in your virtual one either. Make it a habit to leave your inbox empty every day.