Communication via email is much more difficult than it seems. The sender of an email has a whole picture of what he wants to convey in his head, this picture is converted into an email. When the recipient reads the email, the picture that forms in his head is not necessarily the same.
Everyone is flooded with email – we get way too many – many of which are unnecessary, but sifting and sorting through them to find the important / valuable emails is where the trick lies.
I’ve seen many people with thousands of unread emails in their inboxes.
Because of the sheer volume of emails, reading them gets tricky. Most people scan through them and try and get the gist of the message by reading just a little bit (like the first half of the first line)\n\n\n\n
Some people are so caught up in their emails that they work on getting through their emails and nothing else. (In his book A World Without Email by Cal Newport, he calls this “the hyperactive hive mind”) Some people do keep up with the volume of email. Other people try and keep up by scanning through their emails, but ignoring much of the messages. And then some people just don’t care and they let emails pile up in their inboxes.
I would like to propose some email rules:
Rules to help everyone
- Use clear subject lines
- Write short and clear emails
- Address only one issue per email
- Don’t copy unnecessary people
- Don’t reply to an email with a message different from the subject line
- People do not respond to emails in which they are CCed – CC is only for information to be read when the recipient has time.
Things to help you manage your email
- Block off certain times to handle your email
- If you can, switch off email notifications
- Keep your Inbox empty (If you don’t, you will look at the same emails over and over)
- Don’t use your Inbox as a ToDo list
- Unsubscribe from newsletters which you do not read
- Make use of folders – But do not over-complicate your structure
- Once you’ve read an email, move it out of your Inbox – Only if you have to or want to keep it
A World without Email – Cal Newport