October 22, 2013, 12:06 PM — We all want two things when it comes to e-mail:
1. Less time handling it.
2. Our messages get read and acted upon.
Asian Efficiency co-founder Thanh Pham highlights two abbreviations that could help us meet both goals: EOM and NRN
Pham says the key to getting e-mail messages read is productive subject lines, those that are short (but not too short), specific and actionable. Using EOM and NRN within the subject lines meets those goals and are powerful ways to indicate what the e-mail is about and what action is needed.
EOM: End of Message. How elegant. Everything you need to impart is in the subject line, such as: "Call Sally at 555–123–1234 EOM." If the recipient knows what EOM means, he or she doesn't even have to waste time opening the empty message, they can just hit Delete.
NRN: No Reply Needed. Again, self-explanatory. Think of the time and keystrokes you'd save if you found this in your inbox: "Running 15m late. Start without me NRN." Sure, it's a couple of keystrokes here and a few seconds there, but if you extrapolate that out over all the messaging you receive? That's a lot of saved time and effort.
The key to using these abbreviations, Pham says, is that they're standardized across your team, department, company or what have you. Standardizing means everyone knows what they mean, so you don't get a reply back with the Subject line "?" and the body: "What's EOM?"
Standardizing these abbreviations - and the subject lines of other regular messages such as reports, updates, stats and more - allow you to create e-mail filters or rules that will automatically shuttle messages where you want them.
"I have a specific folder where all the daily update emails automatically go into and skip the inbox," Pham notes. "That way I can review them at my own convenience and it ensures that my inbox only has important emails that need my attention right away.”
Click below for more practical tips on improving e-mail productivity and efficiency and writing great subject lines.