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Thursday, December 13, 2012

No Email Day and Reducing E-mail Waste

Yesterday was No Email Day, a campaign to encourage people to stop using email for 24 hours for greater productivity and to realize how email has become abused/overused. The organizers would like you to do something more productive with the time saved from no email. This could simply involve other forms of communication like actually talking to someone face to face, picking up the phone or even writing a letter (remember those?) or spending time away from work to reconnect with the offline world.

In honor of this day I thought I would shares some rules that can help you reduce the inefficiencies that email can cause.

Some “Organizational Rules” to Reduce E-mail Waste 

Rule 1 – Limit “CC’s” to only those that are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. Make a rule that employees can choose to BLOCK all CC e-mails. 
Rule 2 – No more than two “cycles” back and forth between correspondents. If the issue is not resolved by that point, USE THE TELEPHONE! 
Rule 3 – No unnecessary forwarding of attachments; use a hyperlink instead. 
Rule 4 – Always include the POINT and URGENCY of the e-mail in both the subject line and the first few lines of the text. 
Rule 5 – Consider using the first few sentences of an e-mail as an ABSTRACT that summarizes the remainder of the communication. Below the abstract, add additional detail with the comment, “More detail follows…”. 
Rule 6 – KEEP IT BRIEF! No e-mail should be more than 20 lines in length (consider using a network filter to block any that are longer). 
Rule 7 – Start the subject line with “ACTION” whenever immediate action is required by the addressee. Actions should be identified at the beginning of the e-mail. 
Rule 8 – Try using the SUBJECT LINE to communicate the ENTIRE message, followed by “EOM” which stands for “End of Message”. 
Rule 9 – Limit the number of times during the day that you cleanup or respond to e-mails. Turn off the e-mail alarm, so YOU control when you deal with e-mail.

Fewer interruptions means more time spent at work on value added activities. Using these rules can help email from becoming a wasteful distraction that can cost companies and you lost productivity.


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