Email. It can be the bane of our existence, but it’s necessary, right?
Or is it?
In the past year, I’ve diminished my email significantly. How? Here’s what I did:
- I took part of a Sunday and did a massive overhaul while clearing my inbox. I had to repeat this a second time because it got away from me, so don’t be discouraged if it’s not immediately permanent.
- Once empty, I realized how much lighter and freer I felt. Yes, it’s true, there was a visceral reaction in my body, and it removed tension.
- I block my time to maximize it (more specifics on that another day), so I’m able to focus and move through things easily.
- To maintain it at empty or only those emails I can’t answer immediately, I set aside 2-3 times each day to purge email (unless it’s not possible, then I clear it at the end of the day). I consolidate my efforts and only respond during time blocks.
- Email is not a conversation for me, it’s information. If I go back and forth on email with someone more than twice, I pick up the phone.
- I challenge myself to respond in one sentence. If it requires more, I challenge myself to use as few sentences as possible. Rarely is it more than 3 sentences.
- If there are many questions in an email, I copy and paste the email and write my answers on the copied email in another color.
- If it’s a long email, I respond with a voicemail and ask the person to call me to have the conversation. Please use this one, it will save you hours and many miscommunications.
- I use text for immediate responses, voice for conversations and time sensitive responses, email for low priority. I’ve trained those around me to use it the same way.
- Remind yourself email is not a means of conversation. Don’t avoid talking with someone under the premise of email being easier. It’s one of the biggest causes for misunderstandings that we have.