Declutter your email messages!

The workplace whether it is a home office, a corporation, or a classroom is often inundated with email. We save messages, procrastinate about reading them, acting on them, and worse we print them out and leave them in piles on our desks. One way to start to organize and declutter is to establish a designated time at least once a day to read email. That means managing your time and committing to an organized schedule. Make time to save time! The next decision to make is if it is information that needs to be kept (in an electronic file), acted on, or discarded. I have more ideas that will help you organize your office!

Do you get emails that can be read and don’t require a response? Do you feel like you have to respond even if it is just to say “thank you”? These days how do we define ‘courtesy’ when it comes to sending and receiving emails? And what about those list serves and group emails? We know that time is money and that both are hard to find.

When you respond to an email to only say thank you it takes the recipient(s) time to open the email and read or even just visually scan the content, and then delete it (I love the ones that come back saying “you’re welcome”). When the email is sent out to a group of individuals you can multiply those seconds by the number of recipients and get an accurate assessment of the impact of unproductive time.

Most messages are sent to inform and to inquire about something with no expectation of response for the latter, in other words, to share information. Most of us have been raised to be polite, and that is a wonderful skill that we don’t want to lose in this age of electronic communication. Perhaps we can find ways to relieve the recipient(s) by signing off with notes or abbreviations such as ‘NNR’ (no need to respond). It’s simple and still maintains a sense of protocol. What suggestions do you have?