I spent today at a productivity summit that talked about a variety of ways to increase productivity both personally and in your company as a whole. The first session discussed “Managing Email Productivity”. One of the methods shared was to reverse the composition of your email messages.
In the standard model we normally write emails in this order.
- Input recipients
- Write subject
- Write body of message
- Attach files
Robby Slaughter, the presenter of the summit shared his preferred method of reversing this process flow and the reasons behind each. I’m significantly paraphrasing but this is the basic premise.
- Attach files – how many times have you sent an email and forgotten to attach the files? Attaching the files first also reinforces the purpose of the email which will be important in the following steps.
- Write Body – The body of the message in this case with attached files should be a simple statement of what action you would like the recipient to take on the attached files. Should they review them, are they to be printed for the upcoming seminar? State specifically what you want the reader to do in your email.
- Write Subject – Write the subject after the body because it should be a simple, stripped-down restatement of the body of the message. Clear and concise with key words at the beginning of the subject.
- Select Recipients – Choosing the recipients last performs a couple of helpful functions. First, if an email doesn’t have a recipient specified, you can’t accidentally send the email without the attachments or pausing long enough to make sure you actually want to hit “Send” on that email laced with your frustrations. Secondly, if you wait till the end you can further clarify exactly who needs to be included based on the actions and requested tasks specified in the email.
What processes do you use to stay on top of your email or to more effectively manage your email productivity?