How I Deal with Email

Dealing with email can be a huge time waster.  I work to be responsive while balancing productivity.  Here is my approach;

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Inbox Zero - At the beginning of each day I act on, reply to or send to the future every email in my inbox.  Using FollowUpthen.com I send emails “where they go and when they go”, meaning sending them to when I have scheduled time to act on them. 

Expectations – I don’t treat email as urgent, in fact many days I won’t read email during my workday.  It may be several days until I reply and I rarely reply over a weekend.  If it is urgent text or call me.  I reply to text messages throughout the day and calls within 48 hours.  If you need to set up a call with me visit www.tomcuthbert.com/talk.

Reply-all and Reply - I reply-all only when absolutely necessary.  Reply-all creates more junk email than any other source.  I reply only when needed and will not reply with “thank you”.  Consider yourself thanked!

Driving - I will never text or email and drive.  I use “Do not disturb while driving”.  Please excuse typing errors - I do use Siri when driving and Siri can be dumb!

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A Few Tips

Subject line – I try to use a clear subject line.  Include a requested action and response timeline.

Signature block – I suggest a reasonable signature block (informational).  Basic contact info.  Pictures slow down email.

Confidentiality - Email is never confidential, act accordingly.

BCC – I consider bcc sneaky.  I don’t bcc unless I tell someone they are being bcc’d to save them from staying in the email string.

Brevity – Please keep emails brief – I try to use bullet points.

 

Forwarding – Don’t forward more than is necessary.  Add context to forwards and be clear on your expectations.

Attachments - Send secure links or files using Dropbox or other service.

Most importantly…

Email is not a form of communication.  Communication happens in person.  Express feeling and emotions in face to face.

Do not email anyone who is within 10 feet of you!  When we rely on email to communicate we create distance between ourselves and others.  Talk to people!