Last Sunday’s lesson in my ongoing course in structure in Sweden’s major morning paper Dagens Nyheter was about what we can do to get fewer e-mails, if we feel overwhelmed by a constant inflow.
In English, it translates as follows:
“E-mail less and feel better
Wouldn’t you agree that quite a number of e-mails make their way to our inboxes on a daily basis? The e-mail attracts our attention and competes with the to-do-list for our focus. Luckily, we can make conscious efforts ourselves to reduce the constant inflow:
- Make sure to phrase your e-mails as concretely as possible. Avoid verbs such as “fix”, “take care of” and “solve”. This way your will receive fewer e-mails containing supplementary questions.
- Have as few receivers of the same e-mail as possible. That way you will have fewer participants in the carousel of replies which might follow. And send fewer e-mails yourself.
- Use as few question marks as possible in your e-mails. The fewer questions you ask, the fewer answers you will receive.
- Use services such as Tungle.me when you need to find an appropriate time for a meeting with people outside of your organization. All parties will state their availability easily after which the service will suggest possible times for the meeting.
If you reduce your inbox inflow, you will have time over for other things. You will no longer get stuck handling e-mails and will not to the same extent neglect your to-do-list.”