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How do I Mitigate Unproductive E-mail Volume?

Like many professionals, I find myself spending multiple hours a day in my e-mail inbox playing defense, and often wondering why I am sent or copied on many e-mails. I would be interested in getting people's thoughts around best practices in mitigating the amount of unwanted e-mails they receive including how to "educate" your co-workers" on how to think more before they press the e-mail send button.

Answers

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

I am sorry to say you can't do anything about other people. Think of it from the employee's side. There are some Managers that want to be copied on everything. It is safer to send e-mails then hold back. Be very careful. Employees are spiteful. If you bark at your people and say stop copying me, you will miss something important, as they will cut you off from everything. Most people are all (copy everything) or nothing (leave you out of everything).

You can only control your behavior. Tips -
- read the first paragraph only. If no interest - delete.
-if you need to respond, respond immediately. Do not say, "I'll look at it later." If you get frustrated from your first review, you will just get more frustrated if you close it to respond later.
-Train your people that you respond to e-mails once a day, let's say between 4 and 5pm. Tell them for important items, they should come to speak with you. Maybe they will reduce the e-mails if they realize you will not be looking at them until later.

Good luck.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Develop a methodology where you not only delegate but encourage autonomy.

Use project management/CRM software where items that would have normally gone to you as an FYI, goes to the system instead.

I agree with Regis on his last point (reading e-mail at specified times); because you now can focus on your work.

Have regular project/departmental meetings where you can go over the material that made its way to the project management/CRM system.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

As to employees, you can also ask them to tag the subject line with the level of importance--urgent, read now vs. information only.
Be sure to unsubscribe to system updates like LinkedIn groups that add no value.
Finally, and you are likely doing this and the other recommended steps, file ads that find you as spam.
Good luck.

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