Sunday, July 19, 2015

Deliver us from Email - Being Efficient with Email

"Forgive us our trespasses.  Deliver us from Email"

This was a funny line in "The Secret of Invincibility: How to Thrive in Any Situation" by Paul Pearsall.

Studies have shown email can reduce IQ to the same extent as smoking pot.  One study says interruptions cause 64 seconds of lost time to get back up to speed on the task you were interrupted in.  Another one says most people take 23 minutes to return to what they were working on!

I believe emails and messaging have made me more ADD.  My ability to focus has been reduced.

Yes email has improved productivity but now it is killing it.   I apologize for what part of that I may have caused with my early involvement with Blackberry (although it most certainly would have happened without me).

Part of my "image" of myself is to be responsive and available.  And to be fast.  Having this persona could be costing me though.  So I am looking at how to improve my email habits.

Some ideas inspired by one of my friends Derek Smith:

1 - Turn off the notification bing or vibration.  This just causes stress and almost forces you to look at it.  This is sort of like having a messy desk that always calls "do me, do me, do me".

2 - Send less and shorter emails.

3 - Include less people on your emails.

4 - If the email chain gets too long it is time to just pick up the phone.  Perhaps more than 4 replies?

5 - The "to" in the email is reserved for the person to take action.  The "cc" is simply "for information".

6 - Use extreme care when sending emails to "all".  The cost can be huge.  Even in a small company like Danby.  About 250 people have email so an email to all costs (time to read)*250.  Lets assume the average time to read a short email is 10 seconds - that is 2,500 seconds or 40 minutes.  The cost is likely over $20.  Add to that the added time if there is an attachment +6 seconds - it takes over 60 minutes lost.  And imagine if there are 3 reply to all.  Cost is well over $100 or even $500 if you consider the "interruption" cost.

7 - Use bullets.  Run on paragraphs hurt readability.

8 - Be professional.  Assume someone else will read it.

9 - Use folders.

10 - I like the 30 second rule.   If I can deal with an email start to finish in 30 seconds, I just do it.

11 - Include your contact information.   It is always faster to pick a cell number from an email than look it up - or worse find out you do not have it.

To compose a good email:

Have a good descriptive subject line - ideally with a verb so people know what it is about and what is expected.

Attach any attachments as you write the email so you are less likely to forget.

Write the email THEN put the To:  This avoids the problem of sending my accident early.

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1 Comments:

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Tom Carswell said...

Good ideas!
One I like to use is "Send less Email".

Often I conclude and email with "Thanks in advance".
That way, I'm not obliged to send a thank you email later.
That just another email for me to type - and another for the receive to delete.

Tom

 

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