End email overload

We’ve had far too much moaning and groaning about “email overload.” It does exist, but “they” aren’t going to make it go away. You have to do that. Here’s how:

Develop skills for managing e-mail

  • Teach yourself to file messages in your E-mail software. Learn to copy them into your word processor, add comments, and file them in an organized way. Share techniques with a colleague.
  • Learn to write clean, short e-mails that quickly indicate what they are about and what action is required.
  • Learn to use a focused, informative subject line that clearly says what the note is about, and will be useful in future retrieval of the message.
  • Take a moment to think about who you’re sending this to. Do they all need it? Will they welcome it?

Push those skills out

If you’re a manager, help your staff do this. Encourage sharing of techniques. Hold mini-seminars. Set expectations. Recognize successes. And don’t forget to lead by example.

If you’re not a manager, write a newsletter article or something similar. Offer to give a mini-presentation at a staff meeting.

Also: End Information Overload

Last Reviewed: 6 years