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E-mail is not a substitute for conversations.
Avoid asking open-ended questions and save yourself from the “boomerang effect” (that’s when you invite more email into your inbox than you intended, as a result of having sent out an email in the first place). Be concise in your message and specify the TL;DR and/or requested action upfront.
The blockage is not email itself, but where all these messages should ultimately go, which requires setting up the right downstream systems.
As you process each message, give yourself five (and only five) options: responding directly or sending the item into whatever system you’re using to manage one of these four buckets.
Behind every email, there are human beings. We can lose sight of this by abusing recipients’ time, keeping unreasonable expectations, cutting out contentless responses (“thanks!”), giving the gift of two acronyms, NNTR and EOM (“No need to respond” and “End of message”) and remembering that if we disconnect for a bit, life will go on.
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Emails from unknown people are like strangers who show up at your office without an appointment. If you pay attention to them, you have to break your commitment to others.
Consider keeping your email notifications off. You will not forget about your inbox.