Out of the Office – notebook story to stop email overload – by Dr. Monica Seeley*
You receive an Out of Office Message, what is your natural reaction next time you want to email that person? Aside from a touch of jealously as they are on leave and have escaped the daily dose of email overload, you just send them another email.
Is that the best email behaviour for those serious about stopping email overload and reducing the resulting wanton waste of time (estimated now to be half a day week).
One in five business users now receive in excess of seventy email a day. Yet our own and that of others research shows that less than a third of all incoming email is ever read. Take a week off and there will be at least 350 emails waiting for you.
There is a very high chance that your email will either be missed or redundant by the time its read. However the recipient may not know that and so more unecessary emails flood back into your inbox.
Be innovative. Don’t firing of more emails. Instead write down the things you want to email the person about and either send them one email on their return or and better still talk to them.
Now watch the email traffic go down along with the email overload. You might even find you too reach the empty inbox status more quickly.
This is part of an ongoing series of notebook stories to reduce email overload – see also my recent column in TechRepublic.
What else can you do using pen and paper instead of email to save time and reach the empty inbox status?
*Dr Monica Seeley, founder of Mesmo Consultancy has spent the last fifteen years coaching and training people from a wide range of organisations and businesses to use email more effectively to improve personal and business performance and manage the risk associated with cyber crime. Monica is a Visiting Senior Fellow at Cass Business School City University and Bournemouth University Business School. She is passionate about helping people to save time by using email effectively and has written several books on the subject, the latest being Brilliant Email. She runs regular workshops, webinars and masterclasses on email best practice.