Let's Free the Email Inbox

From the Project Management in Real Life Blog
Sharing my Project Management adventures and some tips. I try to keep my articles brief and to the point. Project Management is an Art, Science, and Discipline.

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Email Email Email

Let's put a stop to the flood of emails that we keep getting everyday consuming our valuable time that could be spent better. Here are some tips to tryout and also educate the senders of unending email.

  1. Use FYI - on the subject line to indicate it's just for your information. The intent is for no one to reply to your email.

  2. Indicate No Reply Required in the body of the email to emphasize that you are not expecting a reply from anyone.

  3. Use care with the To / Cc. The recipients on the To line have involvement in the subject. The recipients on the Cc line are being included for courtesy situational awareness and should not be hitting any reply button.

  4. If your company uses a chat app then use it in place of an email to get a quick response from the group of co-workers that can address your question.

Just think how much time you spend in the office and mobile mode reading and responding to never ending emails. Make the emails count and spare the amount of wasted time on unnecessary email. Eventually you will miss that important email that is buried in the pile of email waiting to be read.

Posted on: November 29, 2017 08:25 AM | Permalink

Comments (10)

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Excellent valid points. I wish more co-workers would use our messaging app but very few even turn it on. I'm already wary of copying people in the To/CC: fields. It's a pet peeve of mine. I agree totally with using FYI in the subject line and clearer communication on whether or not a response is required. Seems silly sometimes to add this verbiage but at least it is very clear! Thank you for bringing up this topic.

We all want to avoid email Hades. I would add to the list that "Reply All" should be avoided so as to not add to the melee.

For project-oriented communication, I use a project repository (SharePoint-based usually). Here you can conduct discussions that are categorized and easy to follow, unlike trying to find things in an email in-box.

We also do not send attachments in emails, but instead use links to documents in the repository that are automatically versioned, and stored there as the "single source of truth", and ask team members to set Alerts on the document area, resulting in (yes) emails when documents are added, but easier to manage emails since they all have the same format and purpose.

I use FYI, ?? or ACTION at the front of my email subject. Not only does it clarify the intent of my message but it makes it easier for people who want to set up rules. In the case of the ACTION header, I usually add the target date/time at the end of the subject.

Absolutely agree with you Drake!
Agile promotes co-location, face to face interaction and this should reduce email inflow.

I fully agree with you Drake. Good Strategy.

All great ideas.

I would be wary of the way information is distributed in chat apps though. Sometimes info in a chat can get lost in the ether and is better recorded and documented in email format.

Mostly it is a case of using your best judgement and documenting to cover yourself in case of a disagreement on what was said.

Very simple and great information! Thank you!

Thank you all for your feedback.

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