I recently read an email about an article written by Peggy Duncan, a personal productivity expert with this subject. It was sent to me by MMCS (SS) Jeffrey Muniz. You can read the entire article at this link. I have listed below my favorites on Ms. Duncan’s list (my additional comments are in italics) because they augment some of my own thinking that I have not posted here before:
1. Sending or responding to all reflexively (i.e., without thinking).
2. People trying to solve complex issues using email. Use the right tool.
3. “Dirty” email messages that are loaded with carets (>>>), or pages and pages of email addresses, and twenty line email signatures from the same people multiple times. Is it too much to ask for the sender to clean these up before sending it?
4. Subject lines that don’t match the message. Those who correspond regularly with me know about this problem and what I do to avoid it.
7. People who call you instead of checking their email (probably because they have so many messages in their inbox that they do not recognize that you have already replied). Closely related to this one is people who'll send you a message, then they call you or come by your desk asking if you received it! Paleeze!
8. No response for something that clearly needs one because the recipient is too busy or “thinking about it. If you are too busy or don’t understand what to do with the message, how hard is it to quickly send a short reply with an estimated response date or a question for clarification?
9. One-liners. “thanks” or “Oh, OK.” Don’t waste people’s time like this. Next time, put “No Reply Necessary” at the top.
11. Someone replying to my message without the previous message below it or attached to it. Many people (like me) send so many email messages they tend to forget what they asked or what the issue is without a reminder.
16. Read receipt. As if you’re checking up on me to see if I open your message. I don’t know why people waste time doing this because most people can turn this off in their email software. If you really need to know if someone got your email message, pick up the phone and call them about it.
18. Attachment and no body text explaining what it is and why you sent it. Don't send an email message about an event without an explanation in the body, especially if it’s a large file and would drain my ink supply if I printed it. If the details are in the body of the email, I don’t need the attachment. I don’t need to see how creative you were with your flyer. I just need the info.
22. Who are you? People I met briefly some time ago sending me an email message without reminding me who they are.