In lieu of any meaningful New Year’s resolutions, I offer the following tips on how to improve your email habits in 2012. Sure, I know, all the hip kids are doing that Twitter thing, but some of us are still emailing our heads off – and could stand to be more effective.
1. Use the subject line effectively. Tell the person why they need to read your email in the subject line. Include the deadline if there is one. Don’t write a paragraph – just make it mean something to the reader.
2. If the email thread has meandered to another subject, start a new thread. I can’t be the only person filing by topic – and combining topics within a single email thread makes it more likely that the tagalong issue will be lost forever.
3. Quit thanking everyone. Don’t send emails that just say “Thanks”. I appreciate the sentiment, but it’s just one more thing for the delete pile. You’re welcome.
4. Don’t ask more than 2 questions in an email. I’m so guilty of this, but I’ve finally learned that people are not going to respond to more than two questions. Two may even be pushing it. Forget it – let’s say one to be on the safe side.
5. If you want to be productive, don’t train your friends, family, or co-workers that they can expect an instant response from you on email. Multi-tasking hurts productivity, so turn off your email alerts and get some work done.
6. Email is not texting. Unless you are Prince, “can u meet 4 lunch” makes “u” look clueless. Actually – don’t even do that when texting. Spell stuff out. Srsly.
I hope all of you have a wonderful 2012.