Tame the E-mail Treadmill!

I bet your email inbox is full all the time. I bet you have a sense of relief when it’s empty and dread checking it because you are just going to get flooded with more. I bet you wish you had less email.

I process on average 100 emails a day – which is probably a bit more than most. I love email. To me, it’s better than phone calls. Not because I don’t think all my friends and clients aren’t lovely, charming folks — you all know you are — but because many feel understandably obligated to make chit chat, lest they be viewed as being rude. What ought to have been a one minute phone call turns into 15 – 20 minutes of conversation, when either person could have accomplished the same result by sending a 30 second email. Hey! I got stuff to do people!

However, despite (or more likely, because of) my personally heavy use of email — I often experience what I call the “email treadmill”. This is when you send an email and it comes back with another question, like a boomerang, before you can move to your next task, then you answer, and then it comes back again. You keep trying to get the thing off your to-do list, but it just keeps coming back, and back, and back, and it never ends.

For the sake of science, I decided to review my emails for a random day and categorize them:

  • SPAM: 15%
  • IRRELEVANT: 60%
  • USEFUL: 25%

I was surprised at the percentage of irrelevant emails. I am on a mission to decrease wasted time on email.

Well, OnlineITDegree.net has come up with a very entertaining and informative flowchart to help us decrease our email and get back more time. And many of you with employees will gain some startling knowledge about how much money is being wasted on email.

Bottom line? Ask yourself if you need to send that email. There is a 60% chance you don’t. And, you get a bonus points for not CCing people that don’t need to be CCed. Their inbox will thank you.

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Lena Shore

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