Thursday, August 21, 2014

E-Mail Would Be a Lot Better If We Gave Up Our Old Fashioned Ways and Got into New, Better Habits

E-mail, man. It's the worst.

Back in the old days, I used to love making that walk down to the computer lab to see if any one of the handful of people who had my email address had fired an electronic missive my way. Staring at that two-tone, black-and-yellow screen, filled with anticipation, feeling that burst of joy at the sight of a line in the inbox: it was the highlight of my day.

I still enjoy checking into my trusty Google account, but at work, I avoid my inbox at all costs. It's where my productivity goes to die, and it's not necessarily because of e-mail itself, but how and when people decide to send it to me.

I wish more people would follow the advice of Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail, who also takes the time to realign our ethics of e-mail. For one, he dispells the assumption that short e-mails are rude, and asks us to "consider that lengthy emails are disrespectful of others' time." To that end, he recommends we follow a five-sentence rule for e-mails to make sure we're only conveying the most essential information to our readers. Another habit to get into is to look at an e-mail once and respond immediately (which is harder than it sounds).

There's more in Schachter's article to consider. Share it with your friends, but try to avoid e-mailing the link.