January 06, 2014, 3:00 PM — Vowing to spend less time on e-mail can feel as achievable as resolving to breathe less, but the folks at Asian Efficiency say it can be done and rather easily at that.
Their first tip: Send less.
"It's not rocket science. Just think about it. For every e-mail you're sending, you're inviting someone else to send you an e-mail back. It might not be a 1-to-1 ratio but it's pretty damn close," they write. "So by sending less e-mail, you avoid getting more e-mails."
One category of e-mail you can eliminate right off the bat: thank-yous.
"Save the 'thank you' e-mails for in-person," they advise. "Question every e-mail you have to send and see if it's really necessary."
Another tip: aim for Magic 6: "no e-mail should have more than six sentences."
This method brings a Twitter-like approach to your inbox. Condensing your thoughts into 6 sentences (and no run-ons, thank you) forces you to be brief and concise.
"Write every e-mail today in six or fewer sentences," the AE gurus challenge. "If you want to step it up, recommend [that] everyone else do the same. Everyone will benefit from this."
But what if you can't condense your e-mail to six sentences? Go retro: Call the recipient and hash it out over the phone.
Implementing these two simple methods will automatically make you the office MVP. Think about it: Not only will you send less e-mail, but also the messages you send will be short and to the point, which not only saves your time, but your colleagues’ as well.
Itching for more e-mail efficiency? Click below for AE's take on improving inbox management.