All of us get emails daily.
If you are managers, you probably get more than others.
So when is it too much?
I work as a Web team leader and Lately I have felt like I am spending most of my time reading and writing emails than actually working. So, I examined my inbox a bit and discovered I am getting between 150 to 300 emails each day.
Now, say I spend an average of 10 seconds per email (Some might be 5, some might be up to a minute), it will take a full non-stop hour to cover all of them… That’s a lot!
Next, I separated my emails to those where I am in the “to” field and the rest. Unfortunately, that left me with 2/3 of the emails still addressed to me directly 🙁
My conclusion is simple – All of us need to reduce our emails sending!
How can we reduce our outgoing emails\make them more effective?
I can divide the problematic emails to several types:
Too many recipientsThose are the emails that are actually relevant to a small group of people but is sent to a large group from a perspective of “Maybe they will be interested in it too” or “Why shouldn’t I tell everyone about it?”.Do the math. a 2 minutes email sent to 30 people is now a 60 minutes email…. it’s that simple.So, Think twice before you send an email to a predefined list or before adding more people to your email.
Missing context emailsSome emails require context. Sending a blurry email causes the recipient to spend time searching prior emails on this matter trying to figure out what he needs to answer on or reply back starting a ping pong thread.Always specify a short description of the context and need.
Long thread loopingThis is actually a private case of the Missing Context emails, but is worth mentioning!After a long thread, you’ve decided to loop in someone.Do you really expect her to read all the previous emails on the thread, trying to fish out the relevant part and filtering the non relevant one?When adding someone to a long threaded email, please summarize the issues and needs in short, don’t make them read all of it.
Link to external articles\documents
You just read some interesting article and you want to share it.What did you like about it? what were the main issues? can you summarize it in several points?Share the link, but also add a short summary in your own words.This will most likely save some time for others + help them decide if they want to spend time reading the actual article or not.
Most of these emails are “Let’s make sure everyone responses to his part” or emails who got blown up with too many issues and data.Such emails lose effectiveness since sometimes it is not clear who needs to answer what and why is the other discussion relevant to me…It’s OK to split an email to several emails with specific recipients in such cases. it will probably be more effective!
So, when you send an email, think twice.
- Do you really need to?
- Are all recipients relevant?
- Does it have all needed context?
- Can it be shorter and more clear?
- Would a F2F meeting be less wasteful?