Last Monday morning, as my colleague Catherine was starting a weeklong vacation, I came across an interesting infographic that I thought she would like to add to one of our Pinterest boards. I copied the URL for the image, pasted it into a blank email with a brief note and didn’t send it.
I knew that over the course of the week, I would have a lot of information to share with Catherine. So instead of bombarding her with more than a dozen messages that would add to her crowded inbox when she returned, I waited. I organized the information and didn’t send anything until her vacation was over.
This Monday, I sent Catherine one message about a blog post she would need first thing that morning. Later I asked by instant message how she would like me to send a large amount of information, which included multiple blog posts, instructions and related materials. I divided that into two messages, one for this site and one for our Nitpickers’ Nook blog. Later I sent a “roundup” message with the URL for Pinterest, information on someone I started following with our Twitter account, and other tidbits of information that weren’t urgent.
A thoughtful approach to how you send information to someone who is on vacation allows that person to smoothly return to work and not be bowled over by information overload. It can work well in your daily interactions too. You can create one email draft for each person you work with, and then send one daily or weekly message or discuss the topics when you meet in person. Ask your colleagues how they would prefer to receive information from you, in one big message or divided by topic areas.
When you send fewer emails, you also receive fewer replies. So you’re slashing both the number of messages you send and the number you receive.
How have you slashed your volume of email?
[Image Source: Maria Peagler]