10 email management tips

Guest post from HP's Business Answers blog

  1. Inbox zero. In my inbox, right now, you’ll find just 27 emails from the last two days. My policy is to move emails out of my inbox when I have dealt with them. I call it the ‘do, file or delete’ method. This way, I know that every email in my inbox needs my attention.
  2. Switch off email. Sometimes if I’m trying to concentrate, I’ll just close email altogether. Even when Outlook is open, I have switched off the notification sound and pop-up message. There is nothing more distracting than an email. I try to do my email twice a day, at noon and at 5pm.
  3. Quick replies. Don’t send ‘thank you’ emails to cut down clutter. Use the subject line for short messages. Use ‘EOM’ in the subject line to say ‘end of message’ so people can read and delete it in their inbox without opening it.
  4. Short and sweet. Learn from Twitter and keep email messages really short. If you put three or four points in a single email, people tend to ignore the last one. Better to send three or four separate emails.
  5. Use CAPITALS. Using all capitals is considered rude but you can cut through clutter by highlighting key words or actions in capitals. “Your plan is APPROVED” or “FOLLOW UP with John”. This works on plain text email as well as formatted messages. Also *keywords* in asterisks.
  6. Be scannable. Use lists and headlines to make it easy for people to review longer emails such as reports.
  7. HP QuickLook. On the latest HP Notebooks, you can use HP QuickLook to read your email and check your diary in seconds, without booting up Windows.
  8. Share files. Don’t email them. DropBox, Office Web Apps or SharePoint make it easy to share a link.
  9. CC yourself. You can keep your own archive of important emails simply by CC’ing yourself on them.
  10. Drag and drop. In Outlook, did you know you can drag emails into your calendar to create an appointment or into your tasks to make a new task entry? (More top Outlook 2010 tips.)
Comments (2)

  1. Silk Shortbread says:

    We always find this type of article helpful – thanks TechNet! Silk Shortbread

  2. Anonymous says:

    #3 is a real pet peeve of mine – I think it's worth it to send a quick tanks or acknowledgement. I routinely get asked to examine a problem or give advice. So I respond, taking up my own time to be thorough and accurate. Then i never hear anything back again. It's not only rude, but I'm also left not knowing if all the questions were answered, or even if the email arrived.

    You wouldn't walk up to a colleague, ask them a question and get an answer, then turn around and walk away without further ackowledgment. So why is it acceptable in email?

    #5 I prefer highlighting or bold. It stands out better, especially when you work in a world of acronyms like we do.

    #9 The Sent Items folder already does this for free.

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