I responded to a request the other day from a writer
with the New York Times for some tips on "How to Manage Your Email." I
don’t know if she liked my answers because in this age of being more
and more "plugged in" 24 x 7, I’m all in favor of pulling the plug a
lot more often than most people.
Here are some of the tips I gave her:
First, only check email 3 times a day. Once in the morning, mid-day and
afternoon. If someone needs to get you sooner they can pick up the
phone. We hide behind email too often and use it as a way of avoiding
2. Speaking of communicating; if you have
something important to say either call the person or speak with them in
person. Have you ever had someone respond negatively to your email when
you meant no harm? Communication 101 says that the meanings for words
are in people – not in the words. Let people hear your voice or, if
possible, see you if you really want to most effectively communicate.
Avoid sending email just to acknowledge you got an email or to say
thanks or whatever. Someone has to stop the cycle. Use automatic
receipts if you need to acknowledge the email.
4. Use stock
templates to manage your responses to emails. Why create the same basic
response over and over. Many emails use at least 80% of the same words.
Make a copy of these and modify them in Word (or whatever you use) and
then paste them into the email. It’s fast and effective.
taking one day a week "off" from sending non-essential email and pick
up the phone or walk across the hall. It’s amazing what real human
interaction can do for your productivity.
6. Don’t get into the habit of checking your work email before you go to bed at night. It’s a recipe for insomnia!