Time-Wasters – the Tyranny of Email

I don’ t know about you; yet my basic email traffic has soared in the last few years. Disregarding the obvious traps for eating time such as FaceBook (just ask Betty White!), Twitter and all the other social media temptations; basic email from just your internal network (not including customers, potential clients, and other external resources) can completely eat a morning.

How can we get control over our email traffic?

  • Eliminate the ‘reply all’ and ‘copy all’ options from your standard operating procedure. This is a classic ‘CYA’ move in corporate America and it is simply not necessary most of the time. Stop it. Take time to determine who really needs to know what your are sending.
  • Eliminate the BCC option in totality. Transparency is the order of the day – and the BCC undermines every aspect of being transparent in your organization.
  • Stop abusing the ‘urgent’ option on emails. Come on  – is everything urgent? It will become the ‘little boy that cried wolf’ if this option is chosen when not really warranted.
  • Stop hiding behind email! Go see your people, your clients, your customers. Pick up the phone. I worked in a company whose standard operating procedure was to hide behind email. It fostered a dysfunctional culture of passive aggressive behavior and lack of accountability.
  • Carefully choose the email lists to which you want to subscribe. Choose those that truly add value – and relish those. The others? Personally, I have them blocked into my junk folder. However, there are some, like Seth Godin’s blogs, which I look forward to each and every day. They are quick and worth the 1-2 minutes to skim read them!
  • Practice what you preach. Your team will respond to your behavior – so if you want 1 page summaries, give them 1 page summaries. If you don’t want to be copied on everything, don’t copy them on everything.  They will take your lead.

These are just a few quick tips to take back some of the time we waste each and every day.