I have been reading a few articles recently on e-mail etiquette and thought that it was about time I described how I use e-mail.
You can read the concept behind this here.
My inbox is normally empty. If you have sent me an e-mail and then pop over for a chat to chase me up and donâ€™t see the mail in my inbox, donâ€™t panic, if itâ€™s not in my inbox it means that it has been filed, if required it will be on my To-Do list (http://www.RememberTheMilk.com) or will have an Outlook reminder tagged on it.
Yes I do have two separate systems, this is due to client confidentiality issues. I use a single system where possible.
Conversely, if you see my inbox is full, donâ€™t panic, it just means that Iâ€™m busy working and have decided to not process my inbox at the moment, Iâ€™ll get to it when I have some more bandwidth.
As alluded to above, I donâ€™t slavishly watch my inbox, I deliberately ignore it at times. If Iâ€™m really busy Iâ€™ll even close Outlook/GMail/Pidgin/Blackberry to ensure that Iâ€™m not disturbed. If something is urgent and I havenâ€™t responded, IM me, or call me or come and see me. (I may tell you that I canâ€™t respond at the moment, but at least you will know Iâ€™m alive!)
I have some colleagues that use out of office responses when they are â€śbusyâ€?. I donâ€™t like this as it just adds to the â€śnoiseâ€?. I may however book a meeting with myself to block out my calendar to prevent meeting requests when Iâ€™m working to a deadline.
To make e-mail work best:
- Have a meaningful subject.
I will read the â€śblankâ€? subject emails last!
- Have a â€śmanagement summaryâ€? at the top of the e-mail that includes what if anything you expect me to do and when.
- Be concise.
If I know it will take me 10 minutes to read the body of the e-mail, Iâ€™ll do it later unless you grab my attention quickly (see my previous bullet)
This is one of the common comments on the e-mails that I send, they appear to be quite â€śterseâ€?, this is not deliberate itâ€™s my attempt at concise.
- Carbon Copy (CC)
If you are just sending me a mail for â€śinformationâ€? CC me rather than sending it TO me, it will get automatically filed into my CC folder which will get processed after my inbox.
If you must, feel free to send me a â€śThanksâ€? e-mail but it is not expected, I only send these occasionally, again to cut down on the â€śnoiseâ€?. I canâ€™t think of the last time I sent a â€śYour Welcomeâ€? e-mail, although I do really appreciate you all!