Evolving email is a series about putting yourself in the inbox of the recipient and getting more value out of the time you spend on the task of writing email.

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“He evolved email for six posts, and on the seventh, he rested.” Or something like that.

This is the last post in this series for a while, but don’t worry. Here are a few more miscellaneous nuggets to snack on.

Practically efficient tips for getting more from email

  • Keep emails as short as possible. Some people recommend five sentences or less. I’m reluctant to put quantitative boundaries on such abstract things, so I just say try to keep the ratio of information to words as high possible, but shorter is generally better with email.
  • Don’t use the acronym ASAP. Ever. I can’t think of a single time when seeing ASAP in an email motivated me to move faster. Say it some other way.
  • Don’t be this guy: “Hey, I just sent you an email. What did you think about it? What, you don’t read your email or something?!?!” Give people a chance to read your message. If you needed something five minutes ago, use a phone.
  • Use outlines as much as possible. Numbering pieces is also a great idea because it makes it super easy for the replier to refer to items.
  • Say thanks more often. If people are blowing off your emails a lot, it may be because you never end email conversations with a simple thank you. If you always respond to coworkers’ answers with additional questions, expect them to shut down.
  • Use spell check.

If nothing else, always remember that you can spend your time emailing, or you can spend it doing other more productive and enjoyable things.

Nobody wants their headstone to read “Here lies Joe, a man who lived between compose and send.”

When you send someone an email, your goal is often to get them to do something or get information from them. The easier you make it on them, the more likely you’ll get what you need and get it more efficiently.

You can read the rest of the entries in this series by clicking on tag: evolving email.