Sub- AP: Let's improve out Outlook :-)Hi,I land up spending a large part of the day just answering/addressing mails. I am sure that others in our team also face this problem. Given this situation here are a few suggestions that may help us improve the way we communicate via mail.1. Let’s not email , if we can just talk and manage/resolve the task/issue at hand2. When emailing use one of these three prefix’s, in the subject :URG – urgent action needed (action is expected from the receiver on the same day). The urgent action should be clearly mentioned on the last line of the mail.AP – action point (action is expected from the receiver in the near future). The action pt should be clearly mentioned on the last line of the mail.FYI – this is only to keep the receiver informed about matter relevant to him/her.This will help us filter, review and act on our mails more effectively. ( I have applied this for the subject of this email itself).3. Also, lets attempt to keep the mails as short and specific as possible. We will improve our efficiency, if we can keep the mails sharp and action oriented.AP: if you find this useful, forward this to your team members and let’s start using this system asap.I request all (my) team members to start applying this system from today itself.Thanks,
The man (and yes, it was a man) spends the better part of the day reading and replying to mails? I must admit I was slightly envious - it takes me less than ten minutes to get through my Inbox every morning. Am I so redundant that nobody feels the need to send me enough mails to take up the better part of the day, or am I plain unloved?
Have I ever spent an entire day on e-mails? I think not - some days it takes ten minutes to get through my mails, on other days it takes half an hour, but never outside that range. Yes, there are those mails that require action - review this, respond to that, provide information to a third, but that is "work", that is not "e-mails".
Maybe my colleague spends so much time on e-mails because he doesn't make the distinction that I do? But surely not. If that were the case, he would not propose segregating e-mails into FYI, URG and AP categories. Maybe the man really does get a lot more mails than I do.
But, even so, how does one go about segregating mails, and putting the category in the subject line? The same mail could be URG for one person, AP for three, and FYI for five. I normally address the mail "To:" the people in the URG and AP categories, and "CC:" the FYIs, and presume others do so too while sending a mail to me. So when I am "CC-ed" on a mail, I skim read the contents, and read more carefully when something is addressed "To" me.
When tried pointing out the basic flaw in the scheme to him, it took me three tries before I could get him to understand how it was impossible to mention the category in the Subject line. He even went to the extent of suggesting we send three copies of the same mail, and just couldn't get why it would not work.
When he finally got my point, he came up with the idea of ending every e-mail by mentioning the three categories, and the names on each of them. What a perfectly original idea!!! I end long-winded mails sent to multiple recipients by putting down action points against each name, the last line of which typically is -
X, Y and Z - FYI
But apparently, that is not good enough, because unless the FYI comes first, you do not know which category you fall under.
Maybe there is some logic to it, which my simple mind is not able to grasp. Or maybe I am just jealous that I get only ten minutes worth of e-mail every day, while others get so many more than I do.
How much time do you spend on e-mails? Would having URG, AP or FYI in the Subject line help you be more efficient in handling e-mail communications?