Lately, more people are declaring bankruptcy. No, they’re not financially insolvent. They just can’t keep up with e-mail.
They empty their inbox, announce e-mail bankruptcy and start over from scratch. Don’t let it happen to you. Get a grip on the problem before it is too late.
Your goal is to reduce the amount of incoming e-mail. So cancel subscriptions to unwanted mailing lists. The messages become a nuisance if you don’t have time to read them.
A good spam filter reduces the amount of spam reaching your inbox. But don’t expect to eliminate spam completely. Some will still get through.
Do your friends send jokes or chain messages? Explain your situation and ask that they stop. Hopefully they’ll oblige.
Not all e-mail requires a response. If you receive an e-mail addressed to several people, you may not need to respond. If a response it required, it may not need to go to everybody.
Be succinct; restrict your messages to a few sentences. If you can’t, pick up the phone or talk in person.
Take advantage of subject lines
Subject lines should relate to the body of the e-mail. So be as descriptive as possible. Subjects like “question” or “hello” should be avoided. Recipients won’t know what the message is about. And it will be difficult for you to categorize responses.
If you have a one-line e-mail, put it in the subject line. This will save you and the recipient valuable time.
If possible, create a set of codes with your coworkers. Placed in the subject line, codes help you process and prioritize messages.
Forwarding and copying
Be courteous when forwarding an e-mail. Summarize the message and say why you’re forwarding it. This is particularly helpful if the e-mail contains several messages.
Recipients will appreciate your thoughtfulness. They won’t need to read through several messages to guess your thoughts. This will cut down on questions from recipients.
Don’t copy someone on a message unless it is necessary. And explain why you’re copying them. Recipients won’t need to guess your intentions.