Making Email Better – Part 2

EmailOverloadYou are the Cure for Email Overload

Part 1 of Making Email Better observed that how we use email significantly contributes to its negative effects on our productivity and sense of satisfaction. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on a UK study that found up to 80% of email traffic is a “waste!”

 

Better Mechanics and Better Messaging

We established that focusing on Better Mechanics – use of the tool – and Better Messaging – the manner of communicating – makes email more effective and productive. We covered three best practices suggestions for each. You can review those here.

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Making Email Better – Part 1

EmailHellSwimming in Email
We are overwhelmed with the flood of email. They flow into our inboxes unabated like the ocean tides. We struggle to keep up, often ending the day feeling that we’ve only treaded water.

How can this situation get better? Technology solutions, like spam filters, have helped. But what about all the email that we legitimately receive? What can be done to stem the rising tide?

We are Them – A Dichotomy
The irony of our situation is that we’re doing it to ourselves. This is not the work of auto-bots. Other people are sending us email, and we are sending them email. Focusing on receiver-centeric behaviors – managing the inbound flow – can only help us so much. Receiver-centric efforts are like putting a bandaid on the problem. Read More…

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Making Time To Be On Time

Waiting_BoredBruce Turkel is a nationally recognized expert on branding. He’s also a prolific blogger, one that I follow. Bruce recently wrote about his serendipitous early arrival to the airport in a post titled “Early To Bed. Early To Rise.” It’s a worthy read.

I commented on his post, focusing my message on the importance of being on time. It’s what I call Making Time To Be On Time.  Here’s the way I see it.

Why Being On Time Is Important

Being on time – in any form and for any purpose – is important in three specific ways:

  • Leadership – Being on time demonstrates leadership.  It communicates that we command our schedule and we fulfill our obligations. Others follow those who lead, resulting in more people showing up on time.
  • Respect – Being on time respects other peoples’ time. Forcing others to wait for us is impolite regardless of the reason. They’ve made time for us and we are professionally obligated to make good use of that time.
  • Productivity – Being on time is productive. As obvious as this seems, many miss the point. Gathering people for a meeting consumes two valuable and limited resources – money and time. When meetings start late and, as a result, run long, time is lost, productivity is lost and money is wasted. The aggregated effects of that loss can be staggering.

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The S.M.A.R.T. Email Credo – The T

Chapter5_1What Does the T Stand For?
The T in S.M.A.R.T. stands for Time Usage. People are overwhelmed by the amount of e-mail they must handle each day. There are a number of reasons for this, including

  • the global and ubiquitous availability of e-mail,
  • the ability to communicate asynchronously, and
  • the use of e-mail to replace other forms of communication, namely, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings.

Our use of and reliance on e-mail is largely positive. We accomplish much more now than even a few years ago because we can communicate with others on our schedule and they on theirs. However, some of our e-mail habits are big time wasters from a recipient’s standpoint. Some of these habits have been covered earlier in this Credo, some merit repeating, and some of the suggestions below are new. The objective here is to ask e-mail senders to consider—be mindful of—the recipient’s time.

Here’s a simple question to ask: Is the e-mail I’m sending a good use of the recipient’s time? Remember, they are like you. They get too many e-mails a day, just like you do. They are pushed for time and need to get a lot of things done, just like you do.

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