If only everyone knew how to email efficiently, maybe so many wouldn’t have to claim email bankruptcy. Email overload is an ever increasing problem and Chris Brogan writes an excellent post on how to write email that gets answered.
There are some great tips in there, especially the “one decision per email”:
It seems counter to cutting down on email to ask you to limit the decisions required in a message to one per email, but Iâ??ve seen it have the opposite effect.
I find the simplest solution is the most effective for me.
- I try to answer emails as soon they come in. It would be helpful if emails sent to me were conducive to this (see the link above).
- Filter email that does not need a response before it hits my inbox. Gmail makes this dead simple.
- Create and use an “action required” folder. I succeed on the first part (create), but unfortunately keep failing on the second part (use). As I Twittered this morning, getting to inbox zero by moving messages to an action required folder only works if you actually go back in and check that folder!
The key though is to have a system, any system, for dealing with email. Otherwise, you’ll keep falling in to the same trap.
And then have write a blog post about it…
I keep an "unread" smart folder… very similar to the zero messages approach, then flag or mark "unread" the stuff that requires follow-up. If you drop out of my unread and aren't flagged, your email is in the "river" of incoming messages and floats on! Float on, email, float on.