Have you ever felt weighed down by your email? Is it challenging to stay on top of responding back to people? Here are three points that might help alleviate that burden for both you and those who await your response.
1) Introduce a simple “Hey Tap” into your email-checking routine. When you are glancing through your email, hit the reply, and quickly insert some variation of “Thanks for the email, get back to you soon.” This can be very helpful in your correspondence and relationship maintenance because it communicates to the sender that their message has not been lost in the cracks (or junk) and that you are taking the brief time to acknowledge that their message is important to you. This removes the stressful pressure of trying to make sure that you aren’t blowing people off unintentionally. Because people have different expectations for response time, this will ensure that you are making the first step in respectful personal or professional etiquette.
2) Don’t let your inbox be your reminder list. Quite frequently we will use our inbox as a resting place for unanswered emails. This can be a good system for your first week of using a new email account, but very quickly the list grows beyond your visage. As they say, “out of sight, out of mind.” Thus, other measures may be more effective in keeping on top of your responses. Most email accounts offer you the ability to create subfolders for your emails to be stored. Consider creating a folder called “Unanswered Emails”. By having a specific folder with these emails in it, you will be more likely to respond. If you have a reminder function with your email or your phone, consider also implementing a reoccurring reminder that says “Check Unanswered Emails”.
3) Resist the temptation to “say it all” in your email. Often times we are personally discouraged from responding to an email because we are either waiting for the right words or we feel that the response would need to be more lengthy than we have time to compose. Emails are for your benefit! Consider tying off an email with “I have some other points to mention, but I’ll have to get back with you.” Using this method not only gives you the freedom to take a breath in your response, but it also gives your receiver the opportunity to respond to what you have written thus far, just as one would in verbal communication.
Remember that your ability to email is a benefit to you and should not be a shackle. Let’s be a blessing to our friends and colleagues by putting our foot forward in the etiquette of correspondence.