Have you ever met someone say that they want more emails? Probably not — if you are like most managers, you are already spending 20 hours weekly on email.
What’s worse, of the 200 emails the average worker receives daily, only 10% are useful. The rest are spam or simply irrelevant (here’s looking at you 50-email long BCC and CC email chains).
And yet, think about how often our email behaviors effectively ask for more of these undesired emails.
- We start the deluge by sending emails, or reply to an irrelevant email. Is an email or email reply necessary, or would a quick phone call do the trick?
- We sign up for email newsletters. Every time we give out our email, whether it be for a sweepstakes or login, we are welcoming more emails. Every free service you sign-up for needs to make money in order to keep the servers up and running, and often that means selling your email to a “partner” or fellow marketer.
- We don’t unsubscribe from emails If you open an email (or click on a link), you may be sending a coded signal to email marketers that you are worth sending more emails. And why not? You clearly want what they are selling.
Email Overload: A Personal Story
I love me some data. I even get a monthly report on my email use from Google. The graph above clearly indicates I receive far more emails than I send. Most of these emails arrive by 11AM or 4PM. Here are some more stats:
- I received 3000+ emails last month, or about 150 every business day. Even if I was to spend a mere minute on each email, I would invest nearly 3 hours every day on emails alone.
- I sent 438 emails. And of the 3,000 emails I received, I only replied to 14% of them.
- 90% of my emails are less than 200 words. When I do reply to an email, it’s usually in depth. Otherwise, I’ll call or chat online.
The most insightful graph, however, is response time.
Most people reply to my emails within 5 minutes; more than half of all my emails receive a reply within 1 hour.
I am not, however, as responsive via email. I usually take at least a day to reply – I even use a tool to send emails the next morning. I rarely ever reply within 5 minutes. Instead, I promote phone calls, texts, or chats for items needing a same-day or even same-hour response.
5 Easy Ways to Beat Email Overload
- Send less and get less. Don’t feed the beast — the less you send out, the less people are going to reply.
- Add a footnote that states you only check your inbox once or twice day. If you set the expectations you won’t reply quickly by email, your colleagues will stop relying on it. Do expect, however, for them to start communicating in a different way, such as chat, texts, or phone calls.
- Use your Out of Office to suit your working patterns. If you know you are going to be out of office most of the day for a meeting or conference, go ahead and set-up your Out of Office for that day. Make sure you tell the recipient when they could possibly expect a response, or whom else they should contact for a high priority need.
- Create a primary and secondary email accounts. Use your primary account for critical messages — the email you would check on a mobile device. Use the secondary email for mailing lists.
- Add PLEASE REPLY or NO REPLY NECESSARY in the email subject line.
Need more ways to beat email overload? Here are 5 more ways to beat email overload.