A few do’s and don’ts to create a more effective email habit

With today's information overload, creating a more effective email habit is even more important if you want to be more productive and use your time better.

We already know how much time email eats into the day and how much time you spend dealing with your Inbox.

Various studies and research have shown it takes up to 40% of our workday.

It takes time to get back to the task in hand once you've dealt with email, so having a more effective email process can save you time and help you manage your Inbox.

It's difficult to avoid email entirely and in some instances we've simply replaced email with messaging, resulting in the same challenges of distraction and overwhelm.

Create a more effective email process - sending emails.

Firstly, is email the best and most appropriate means of communication for what you have to say? What's the content in the email you're sending - information, confirmation, a request, action needed ...?

• Personal or confidential matters are better in person or over the phone.

• Urgent matters - what's the timeframe for the urgency, is it better to call?

• Quick questions or minor requests - send a message instead of an email.

Do ...

• Only send it to the people who need to read it.  Don't clog up someone's inbox if they don't need to see it.

• Keep emails short. Long emails are difficult to read. Use attachments instead.

• Answer any questions asked, and pre-empt further questions by being clear with your answers. Avoids additional emails being sent back and forth.

• Check spelling, grammar and punctuation. Easy to miss and applies to any form of communication. Especially if it's a business or professional email.

• Avoid email ping-pong. It's often quicker to pick up the phone instead of waiting for a response or having several email exchanges.

• Make it personal. Even if you're using a pre-defined template.

• Use more information salutations and closings. Depending on your industry and organisation 'Dear Sir/Madam' and 'sincerely' aren't often used in emails.

• Read the email before you send it - we all mistype and skip words - check it through. Also check the tone and context which is easier to see on a second reading or when you come back to an email.

Don't ...

• Attach unnecessary files.  Large files can clog up an email system - especially when sent to multiple addressees.  Use Google Drive, Dropbox or WeTransfer for file sharing.

• Write in ALL CAPITALS - that's the equivalent of shouting online and in social media. Use it for emphasis.

• Leave out the message thread, previous replies especially if it doesn’t relate to what you're discussing.

• Don’t overuse Reply to All - does everyone really need to see your reply.

• Don’t rely on delivery and read receipts. These have their uses but may be switched off by the recipient or their mail system.

• Avoid excessive use of the high priority option, URGENT and IMPORTANT (unless it is!)

• Don’t use email for confidential or sensitive information.

While messaging apps like WhatsApp and Channels like Slack are good for the more informal communication between groups and teams, consider the same principles when sending messages.

Want to know more about managing your email, then you could also ready our eBook: How to better manage your emails here