When you can, don’t.

In this post I’ll sound off on my personal email woes; give an example of a company that’s changing the way the email game is played; then close with a few email tips.

I’m not a fan of email. Never have been, never will be.

Emails consume me. Correction, I let them.

In coaching lingo, we call this a toleration. Anything that’s zapping our energy we need to resolve or release.

Currently, the inbox reads 500. (Big improvement in that I used to have over 2K) Another 100 folders, with God knows how many emails <at least 1.5K 😉 > neatly tucked away.

Where do all of these emails come from?

I quickly perused the first page of my inbox and came up with this listicle:

  • Newsletters
  • Webinars
  • Clients
  • Prospects
  • Students I’m Teaching
  • Spam
  • Friends

How many of these emails are important? A handful, at best.

I’ll admit, the overwhelming majority of emails are incoming. I keep sents to a minimum.

Yet, I continue to hold on to the trivial, with hopes that someday, I’ll have a use for whatever’s inside.

Let’s switch gears to someone who’s changing the rules in regards to electronic communication.

Enter, Thierry Briton, CEO and Chairman, of ATOS; an international IT services company with 80K employees.

In February 2011, Mr. Briton set out to be the first company to eliminate all internal emails. That’s right, an inbox with zero emails from the team.


Mr. Briton said:

“We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives. At Atos Origin we are taking action now to reverse this trend, just as organizations took measures to reduce environmental pollution after the industrial revolution.”

Here’s what ATOS discovered:

  • By 2013, more than half of all new digital content will be the result of updates to, and editing of existing information
  • Online social networking is now more popular than email and search
  • Managers spend 5 to 20 hours a week on email tasks
  • Employees receive an average of 100 emails a day. Of these, 15% are productive
  • Middle managers spend more than 25% of their time searching for information

Instead, ATOS is using instant messaging and social media platforms to communicate internally.

My preference is always a phone or face to face convo. When that’s not doable, I’ll use social media.

IF you must write an email, I’d recommend:

Be Subject Line Specific

Clearly state what your email is about in the subject line. Go ahead and make your subject line a sentence. Perfectly ok. This way the person can decide whether to read, delete, or file away.


Brevity Is The Soul of Wit – Summarize!

Don’t waste your reader’s time. In the opening sentence or two, explicitly state what this note is about, including the resolution.


Create An Action

What do you want the reader to do next? Be specific.


I started writing today’s post around 11a this morning. I took a break a few sentences in.

I went to my inbox of 500 and wittled away at it.

It’s shortly after 5p and my inbox digit reads 294. Many of those –precious- notes went into a folder.

It’s a beginning. Right?

Can’t wait for the day when I have the nerve to mouse click the check box that says ‘Delete All.’ Send all of those notes to email heaven.

Let’s see if I can get the inbox below 200.

Maybe you have a tip on how to handle the email craze. Tell me below.

Photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee

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