10 Simple Ways to Reduce E-mail Waste

1. Resist reply all.

If a company wide e-mail is sent that requires a response, send that response only to the original author. 

While much appreciated, sending “thank you” replies to an entire thread of people can clog inboxes.

2. E-Mails are not a to-do list.

Do not rely on a full inbox as a checklist to get the job done. Get all pertinent information upfront to complete the task efficiently. 

3. Only reply to the e-mails that need a response.

Pay careful attention to which e-mails absolutely require a response and those that were sent merely to inform the reader.

4. Get some exercise.

Take a walk to speak to the person or department face to face.  

Inform co-workers you only respond to e-mails during certain hours. If they really need an answer, they will come to you rather than sending an unnecessary e-mail.

5. Be clear and concise.

To eliminate follow up e-mails, keep e-mails brief and to the point. Make sure instructions are clear.

6. Know who’s who.

Only send e-mails to those who absolutely must be informed.

7. Here’s my card.

Include all necessary contact information in the original e-mail. This prevents others from e-mailing back asking for this information.

8. Define your priorities.

Improve work efficiency by only sending or replying to e-mails that are vital to the completion of your task. 

Do not interrupt your co-workers work flow by sending e-mails with messages that could be conveyed later.

9. Refrain from rapid replies.

If multiple co-workers send you e-mails that require a similar response, send one e-mail answering all questions. 

Take your time. Start a draft and save it, making sure to include every detail necessary.

10. Think before you send.

Ask yourself: Can this task be communicated another way? Does this person need to be notified? Can this be handled via a phone call? Should this be communicated elsewhere, perhaps the next company meeting?