I used to get over a hundred emails per day. Thanks to a pretty good spam filter, that number is down, but not by as much as you would think.
Harvard Business School has put together a useful list of Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload. It instructs emailers both how to send better emails and how to read and receive e-mail. Some tips include:
- Use a subject line to summarize, not describe
- Give your reader full context at the start of your message
- When you copy lots of people, mark out why each person should care
- Check e-mail at defined times each day
To this list I would add: Get email listservs and current awareness messages out of your email. Some RSS readers, like Bloglines, allow you to have email messages delivered to your account. For me, this has been the single most effective method of reducing the volume and relevance of emails that I receive.
My email has become solely for messages that matter to me personally. All current awareness and listservs have been transferred to my RSS reader – Bloglines. As those of you who use RSS readers know, one of the beauties of these tools is that you never have to delete anything. You look at it and it’s gone — unless you save it, of course.
And if you haven’t discovered RSS readers, do yourself a favor and check them out. They are huge time savers!