Tag Archive for 'email'

A world without e-mail, Part 2

After yesterdays posting about visions for a social workplace I stumbeld upon Kevin Rose´s tips to get rid of the email problem:

#5: Add a http://three.sentenc.es/ email signature and keep them short.

„Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.

three.sentenc.es is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be three sentences or less. It’s that simple.“

Example signature:
Q: Why is this email three sentences or less?
A: http://three.sentenc.es

#4: Type „Sent from iPhone“ under your short responses. People don’t expect long responses when you’re on your phone. Don’t forget to mispell a few words.

This all looks graet +1!!
Sent from iPhone.

#3: Create a ‚VIP‘ filter. Add your boss, investors, and close friends. Flag them red and throw them in a separate folder. This is the first place I check every morning.

#2: (Gmail only) Keep the spam out. If you’re giving your address to a potentially shady website, tack on +spam to the end, example: yourname+spam@gmail.com. You can then filter those emails into a spam folder you check periodically. (ProTip: the +spam is a variable that can be anything you want, eg. yourname+football@gmail.com etc., make as many as you like)

#1: (Apple Mail or similar program) Setup an email bankruptcy filter. This is a little bit of a dick move, but if you’re getting hundreds of new emails a day, it just might work.

Step 1: Create a filter that auto-responds to all unopened emails > 14 days old w/the following message:

Your email (below) is now 14 days old and has not been opened. To minimize email buildup your email has now been placed in the archive. Should you still require a response simply respond back and you’ll automatically be added to the priority queue. Thank you.

Step 2: Setup another filter that looks for the text „Your email (below)“, this will catch the email responses back to you from those still requiring your response. Filter these into a special folder you check and respond to daily.

Reminds me of an article I wrote back in 2004. After returning from vacation the CEO deleted all the unread mails in his inbox and stated: „who really needs a response to his mail calls me or will write a letter“.

A world without e-mail

A story worth reading about Luis Suarez and his vision of a Social Workplace where you are able to reduce e-mail to a minimum. Follow his steps to reduce the amount of e-mail you receive:

1. Don’t Reply
If you want to stop receiving so much e-mail, the number one rule is don’t reply to it. The more you reply, the more you will get back. If you break that chain, you are already on a good path to kill most of the e-mail you get.

2. Study Your Inbox
Next, study your inbox. Evaluate the kind of personal interactions that are taking place there. For example, you may find out that you subscribe to a hundred newsletters and you don’t read any of them.
After you’ve studied the way you use your inbox, try to group e-mails together into categories — newsletters, Q&As, e-mails from family members, etc.

3. Tackle One Area a Week
After you’ve evaluated you intake, slowly move one of those groups away from your inbox. Don’t try to cover them all in one go, because it will be too much.

One week, unsubscribe from newsletters and try and find alternative sources such as a feed reader or relevant Twitter accounts.

You may find that you are bombarded with e-mail questions from colleagues, and that you get one particular question 40 times from 40 different people in one month.

So the next week, sort out the Q&A. The way to deal with that is to set up a blog offering the answers. The blog will be indexed by Google, and your answers will be available to everyone out there. This means you are no longer part of the bottle neck, and you are helping people to feed themselves with the information that they need.

Simple steps indeed. I am currently sorting out all these newsletters again and trying to evangelise people by helping them sharing documents. It´s still work in progress since years. Because it is not a question of tools. We had Lotus Notes for years, we have Google Apps, Sharepoint, Wikis and all the helpfull collaboration solutions. But still people mail attachments back and forth.

It is hard to change old habits. But with a new generation of users in the corporate universe this might change. They grew up with Facebook & Co, and they use e-mail today just to write a message to their parents.