It’s easy to drown in email, and like a lot of people I have a love hate relationship with it. As a CEO one of my biggest concerns with email is the distraction and time it takes away from people (including me) who need to be doing focused work.
So, in case you are interested here is the personal email policy I try to hold myself to:
- Respect Time | This is the fundamental rule. As the message sender, the onus is on ME to minimize the time my email will take to process. Time after all is the one thing you won’t get back.
- No Notifications | The neuroscience is now almost irrefutable. Interruptions stop productivity and focus. I don’t have notifications on my email and generally don’t have email on my phone. I do clear email a couple of times a day and have an amazing EA who can always jump in. If you need me in a hurry, call or text.
- Not Urgent | Email is a great form of communication, but I don’t expect you to respond instantly. If I did I’d call/text you. And just because I email you at 4am in the morning, it doesn’t mean I need a response as soon as you wake up.
- Slash CC’s | Generally I try to keep CC’s to an absolute minimum. I also try to not ‘reply all’, unless everyone needs to hear the reply.
- 5 Sentences | If I know you well, I’ll generally drop the “Hi, how you doing?” stuff and get straight to the point, hopefully in less than 5 sentences. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, in fact I care so much I’m trying to save you time.
- Abbreviations | I use a couple of standard ones …
- COB = Close of Business (which in my world means before I get up tomorrow)
- NNTR = No need to reply
- EOM = End of Message (used sometimes in subject)
- Thanks | If the email conversation is finished and everything’s agreed or delivered. Don’t feel you need to reply with “thanks”. It just creates unnecessary email processing. I’ll try not to do it either.
Please feel free to take, hack or use my policy or even share or link directly to it http://bit.ly/smallemail