September 1, 2020 7:00 am Published by

Email. It can be the bane of our existence, but it’s necessary, right? 

Or is it? 

In the past year, I’ve diminished my email significantly. How? Here’s what I did: 

  1. I took part of a Sunday and did a massive overhaul while clearing my inbox. I had to repeat this a second time because it got away from me, so don’t be discouraged if it’s not immediately permanent. 

  1. Once empty, I realized how much lighter and freer I felt. Yes, it’s true, there was a visceral reaction in my body, and it removed tension. 

  1. I block my time to maximize it (more specifics on that another day), so I’m able to focus and move through things easily. 

  1. To maintain it at empty or only those emails I can’t answer immediately, I set aside 2-3 times each day to purge email (unless it’s not possible, then I clear it at the end of the day). I consolidate my efforts and only respond during time blocks. 

  1. Email is not a conversation for me, it’s information. If I go back and forth on email with someone more than twice, I pick up the phone. 

  1. I challenge myself to respond in one sentence. If it requires more, I challenge myself to use as few sentences as possible. Rarely is it more than 3 sentences. 

  1. If there are many questions in an email, I copy and paste the email and write my answers on the copied email in another color. 

  1. If it’s a long email, I respond with a voicemail and ask the person to call me to have the conversation. Please use this one, it will save you hours and many miscommunications.  

  1. I use text for immediate responses, voice for conversations and time sensitive responses, email for low priority. I’ve trained those around me to use it the same way. 

  1. Remind yourself email is not a means of conversation. Don’t avoid talking with someone under the premise of email being easier. It’s one of the biggest causes for misunderstandings that we have.