You’ve got too much mail
A friend of mine sent me a link from the Los Angeles Times about the perils of too much email. Which I didn’t read for several days because I had too much email. (Not that I’m in the habit of ignoring email messages, but I have a pop-up box that gives me the subject line and first line of each message so I knew this one wasn’t urgent.)
An unnecessary Reply All, is, of course, one of the worst email-generating offenses one can commit. I thought pretty much everyone knew this. Alas. “You’re welcome” emails are also extraneous (even if that is a nice sentiment). And unless someone asks, don’t copy them on every detail of every move you make — a manager likely wants to know the end result of an action (or periodic updates along the way), not every step taken to get there.
To speed the flow / reading of email messages, I like using as specific a subject line as possible. I can’t tell you how many review copy requests I get with the subject line “Review copy request.” Guess what? I work in publicity. So that really helps, folks. That’s like someone who works in a running store being being told by customers, “I’m looking for a pair of running shoes.”
To streamline my inbox, I’m also pondering the merits of online discussion groups. Although email is still the best way to consult with someone if an issue is urgent, for ongoing discussions — such as general department issues — discussion groups can provide an efficient space to gather comments and questions and also post documents / files that might be of use to the department. Members of the discussion group can participate by logging in online, or they can participate by emailing the discussion group email address. (The latter option is particularly useful for those using Blackberries and other PDAs.)
How do you deal with an email overload? Feel free to post your comment.