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Productivity Coaching – Email Efficiency and Etiquette

Productivity Coaching – Email Efficiency and Etiquette

Perhaps the most used and abused communication tool in existence today is email. Our ability to work productively would be drastically reduced if we didn’t have access to email. However, because we have access to email, our lives are constantly interrupted, often with useless information.

The key to getting the most out of email is to make sure you find a system that helps you stay on top of things properly and also filters out the unimportant items that can cause you to switch tasks.

Here are a few basic rules that TimeGym customers have found very helpful in turning email into a blessing rather than a curse:

1. Spam copy or CC. I recently heard of an employee who aggravated her boss to the point of being fired. One of the habits she had was to almost always copy her boss when sending emails – perhaps in an attempt to appear busy. When adding people to a copy list, make sure the information is truly valuable to their position and necessary for them to do their job properly. If you do need to update a colleague on the things you’ve been up to, save it for a weekly summary email or an in-person meeting.

2. Be very careful when using Reply All. The Reply All button sends an email reply to everyone in the To and CC list of the original email. In general, press Reply All only when the email is intended to be a group discussion and only if your reply is valuable and relevant to every other person named in the email. Otherwise, you risk clogging up the email inboxes of others who have no need or desire to see your reply.

3. Use “Blind Copy” or “BCC” for mixed groups. We’ve all received a funny or heartwarming email forwarded to us by a loved one. However, if you decide that you absolutely cannot resist sending a picture of a kitten dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, make sure you send it to your recipients using “Blind Copy”. This protects the email identity of those receiving the email and helps minimize spam.

4. Limit the number of subjects in one email. Have you ever emailed someone with a series of questions, only to find that they only answered three of the seventeen points you’ve painstakingly covered? Always remember this law of email: the shorter the email, the more likely it will be read.
Try to separate different concepts into different emails. If you must have several topics in one email, try to break them up into short little thoughts. At the very least, remember to use bullet points or paragraph spacing between different concepts.

5. Use effective themes. I often see subject lines that are empty or unrelated to the essence of the email. While this may seem quick or clever, it creates a problem later when your recipient tries to search for your conversation. Poorly written subject lines also make it difficult for the person receiving the email to know what action to take. Be especially aware of the subject if an email conversation changes course. If the conversation turns from an advertising campaign to hiring new staff, take a moment to change the subject. This will help you and your reader avoid confusion and make it easier to retrieve emails in the future.

6. Leave the story in your email. Some people choose to disable the display of the previous person’s email in the timeline, perhaps in an effort to reduce word clutter. The problem is that it makes it difficult for someone to follow the thread of the conversation. For example, if you write back to an email with a short answer like “sounds like a good idea” but no conversation history, it becomes very difficult for the recipient to understand exactly what you mean. Then the recipient may have to spend extra time and effort to go into their email history and find what the idea was that sent them in the first place. Although it may seem cluttered, always leave the history on and don’t delete the sender’s previous email.

#Productivity #Coaching #Email #Efficiency #Etiquette

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