· Set up scheduled intervals for reading e-mail, rather than reacting to each e-mail as it arrives. This tip alone will save you time, since you lose 10 minutes of productivity when you switch from one activity to another.
· Make decisions right after you read each message:
- Reply immediately, whenever possible, to save the time of reading the message later.
- Delete the message if you don’t need to keep it.
- Create subject folders, and move messages you need to save to the appropriate folder.
· Create follow-up reminders if you’re not replying immediately.
· Change the subject line of messages you’re saving if it doesn’t reflect the message content.
· Save the sender’s address to your contacts and/or address book.
· Stop e-mail subscriptions you don’t have time to read.
· Watch your subject lines:
- Be concise.
- Change the subject line when replying if it’s no longer appropriate.
- Send separate messages for separate subjects.
· Organize content for maximum readability:
- Keep messages short. If a message must be long, use bullet points and short paragraphs.
- State the purpose of the message in the first line, even if it’s in the subject line.
- Indicate, at the beginning of the message AND in the subject line, if a deadline or action is required.
- Got lots of questions? Number them.
· Using Reply and Forward judiciously:
- Reply only if appropriate. Not all messages need a reply.
- Choose “Reply to all,” “Copy,” and “Return Receipt” only when necessary.
- Don’t forward virus hoaxes.
- Don’t overload friends and colleagues with joke e-mails.
· Use a “signature” with your name, company, and contact info.
· Use virus-scanning software and keep it up-to-date.
· Sending an attachment? Tell your recipient and indicate the type of document attached (PDF, Word, etc.). Consider posting attachments to an internal website and sending the link instead.
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