Email: Sometimes it seems to replicate. I am finding this even truer now that I finally broke down and bought an iPhone, which has totally changed my life. Now I know why they call these SmartPhones–they have only a passing resemblance to my old BlackBerry. With my iPhone, I love checking Facebook and Twitter, which are sources of yet more messaging back and forth, and I find myself drowning in data.
A good way to cut down is to eliminate those emails that have one-word answers. “Agreed.” “You bet.” “Thanks.” These responses are superfluous. If you send an email to someone saying “Thanks”, they well may send one back saying, “Thank you”. Yes, it’s nice to be courteous, but thank someone in another email where you’re providing something substantive.
Back when I used to work in an office, I shared space with a bunch of developers who hated direct communications. They didn’t know how to have a conversation or talk on the phone. Every communication was via email, and I find that I default to this as well–it provides the opportunity to think something through as I write it. But there are times when actually having a conversation is much more efficient–being able to get an immediate response can be a real time-saver.
Eliminating one-word response emails is one promise that deserves a big commitment.