Inbox Overload? This Idea Can Free Up Your Time

Email Email EmailHave you ever been added to an email discussion that’s been underway for some time?

If the sender hasn’t summarized the thread, you need to scroll through and read the entire string to understand what’s at issue. And attachments make your job even harder. 

Email at work
Because the sender hasn’t recapped key points or let you know how you could help, you run the risk of an incorrect assumption unless you clarify what’s needed with the sender.

Adding to the frustration, it probably will take you longer to read and respond than the time the sender spent writing the original email.

To minimize confusion, perhaps you simply bypass email and phone a sender or two to see how you can best contribute to an ongoing discussion.

Now, a solution to email fatigue is at hand.

Inbox overload
In a blog post, TED curator Chris Anderson and TED scribe Jane Wulf acknowledged the problem of email overload that many workers struggle with.

The post resonated with readers. It led to the development of an Email Charter — an idea worth spreading with the core purpose of respecting email recipients’ time.

The charter includes 10 Rules to Reverse the Email Spiral. Among them:

  • Celebrate Clarity
  • Tighten the Thread
  • Attack Attachments

Many readers offered feedback on the charter. For example, several volunteered to translate it into other languages — showing the global interest in such an initiative. Read more feedback.

Would you adopt the Email Charter for your business? Do you support the goals? Please add your thoughts on the idea in the comments section below.

With thanks to Ramberg Media Images for the photo via Flickr.
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About creativeconsiderations

Christine Sullivan is a communications strategist with expertise in communications planning, writing and content development, and executive communications. She can be reached at
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2 Responses to Inbox Overload? This Idea Can Free Up Your Time

  1. lbstrang says:

    While they may seem obvious, the two acronyms listed in #8 might still cause confusion for some. Otherwise, it’s a great charter that I’d support completely.

  2. Thanks for stopping by today, Lynne. I agree with your comment. I had the same thought when I read point 8. Maybe spelling out the no need to respond would be easier on the recipient, in light of the charter’s purpose.

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