How to Check E-mail Twice a Day… And Have Your Boss Accept It

199 Comments

Think your boss won’t go for an email autoresponder?

You’d be surprised. Here is one example from a SXSW attendee. His two e-mail to me have been combined with a bit of editing for length.

Hey Tim,

Here’s what i took away from your presentation (and put into action!):

I sent out an email to everyone in my division letting them know i’ll only be checking email at 11a & 4p. I’ve included my email down below:

“Hi all…

In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency I am beginning a new personal email policy. I’ve recently realized I spend more time shuffling through my inbox and less time focused on the task at hand. It has become an unnecessary distraction that ultimately creates longer lead times on my ever-growing ‘to do’ list.

Going forward I will only be checking/responding to email at 11a and 4p on weekdays. I will try and respond to email in a timely manner without neglecting the needs of our clients and brand identity.

If you need an immediate time-sensitive response… please don’t hesitate to call me. Phones are more fun anyways.

Hopefully this new approach to email management will result in shorter lead times with more focused & creative work on my part. Cheers & here’s to life outside of my inbox! “

So far the response has been very receptive and supportive. Here’s the quick “reply to all” email response i got from our senior operations manager (he oversees 5 radio stations. and most of the people in the building):

“Tim,
AWESOME time management approach!!! I would love to see more people adopt that policy.
-C.”

I’m sticking to it and it’s making my days more productive already. As the days are progressing, more people are “on the bus” with respecting my new email policy and i havent had any snags (even with SXSW going on – and i work in Austin radio, so we’re all swamped this week). However, every single person feels like it just wouldn’t work for them if they did it. (“oh, but i’m on too many mailing lists” or “All i do is work in my email box, i have to.” i’m sure you’ve heard it all before).

As far as your presentation… A major thing i took away is applying the concept of 80/20 to my workflow. I’ve always known i waste a great deal of time on things that ultimately aren’t showing the bulk of my ROI. Hearing you present it in a new light enabled me to start actively weeding out the time wasting clients & processes. I do a lot of work that our interns should be doing. So i’ve begun designating responsibility appropriately, thus freeing up my plate for the more relevant tasks. It will be a slow process, but senior management is on the same page with me.

Cheers,

Tim Duke
KROX & KBPA – Interactive Brand Manager

Here is a shorter autoresponder another attendee successfully implemented:

Thank you for your email! Due to my current workload I am only checking email at 11am and 4pm. If you need anything immediately please call me on my cell so that I can address this important matter with you. Thank you and have a great day!

-Tom

My personal e-mail autoresponder limits me to once per day and indicates “I check e-mail once per day, often in the evening. If you need a response before tomorrow, please call me on my cell.” My business e-mail autoresponder, on the other hand, gives me the option to check email once every 7-10 days.

The real hard part, of course, is keeping yourself away from that damn inbox. Get on a strict low-information diet and focus on output instead of input; your wallet and weekends will thank you for it.

Posted on: March 22, 2007.

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199 comments on “How to Check E-mail Twice a Day… And Have Your Boss Accept It

  1. Hey Tim,

    Am in IT sales and your ideas on maximising output and not input ring very true. Will be trying some of your approaches especially around email and let you know how I go. I am all about minimising work hours too so keep those suggestions coming.

    Cheers,

    Enzo

    Like

    • Hi Tim, the advice given by you is very appropriate and it will surely help me out in reducing my time of checking the inbox. i will surely follow your blog, as that can help me out regarding other respective matters. Thank you Tim

      Like

  2. I like this idea a lot too. But I get annoyed with auto-responders and my regular contacts might get annoyed too if every email they send to me generates that message.

    Do you think a disclaimer at the bottom of each of my outgoing emails would suffice? People who might expect a more immediate response from me are most likely those who I’ve emailed before.

    So if I have a disclaimer of sorts near where my signature is, they would probably see that and know what my email policy is.

    Like

  3. Charles,

    I completely understand your fear of alienating people with the autoresponders. This is a fear everyone, myself included, has (or has had).

    Here is how to avoid it: ensure that the autoresponder is only sent — or bounced back — to the same contact every 4-7 days. All of the mainstream e-mail applications I’ve used have this type of option, and even Gmail send at most one autoresponder per 4 days to the same contact.

    Using a disclaimer at the bottom near your sig doesn’t work well, in my experience, as people forget it and have learned to turn off as soon as they think it’s another “This is a confidential communication. If this is not intended for you… blah… blah…”

    Give it a shot and take it slow. The worst that happens is you go back to the usual routine after testing it. The more likely scenario is that you cut your email intake in half within the first week.

    Good luck!

    Like

    • Tim (or VA),

      I would think Microsoft Outlook would have the capability to ensure that the autoresponder is only sent — or bounced back — to the same contact every 4-7 days, but I cannot locate instructions anywhere online. Can you provide a tip to help with this?

      Thanks

      Like

  4. Two days in and the auto responder has provided me with the following benefits:

    1. I am not spending the best part of my day – the beginning of my working day – getting bogged down in emails
    2. The twice daily burst of email activity has felt more productive

    Interesting things to note:

    1. I have had no calls to my mobile for those instant responses (perhaps I will add my mobile number in the future!)
    2. The volume of emails does seem to have decreased – how is this possible? something to monitor!
    3. Not one of my colleagues has come to ‘complain’ about my auto responder (a concern I had before testing).

    The way forward:

    1. Attempt to stick to twice daily emailing – strong urge to take a look during the day – I really am addicted to the in-box ping!

    Like

  5. Hi Anne,

    I have found that people will generally expect you to respond as quickly as technology allows you to receive their e-mail, hence the permanent ADD of most Blackberry owners.

    I have one friend, a uber-successful mechanical engineer, who received a Blackberry e-mail from his boss just as he (my friend) got on the NYC subway with me at 9pm on a Friday. There was no reception, so he responded as soon as we got off 4 minutes later. His boss had already left him a voicemail indicating that they would need to “have a serious talk” the following Monday about his lack of response, and that the head boss was livid and threatening to fire him.

    It’s a sad state of affairs and an all too common problem. This culture of immediacy needs a severe backlash.

    Like

  6. Tim,
    I love this idea, but I think the twice a day checking is overkill for some of us. If you work in an environment where the culture is to use email for immediate needs, then this is definitely appropriate. But for someone like me, who works on my own, I think the key is to train people when to expect an email response. If I always respond immediately, I’m training people to expect that. If I often take a day to respond (or more), people will be trained to use the phone for urgent requests and emails for less urgent ones.

    Still, it’s a brilliant concept and one I’m going to train myself to try.

    Like

  7. Interesting and great for most, and will be great for my numerous personal e-mail accounts, but as a web geek with a distributed internal client base e-mail is my *preferred* method of receiving requests. That way I don’t have to explain over the phone to every wanna-be mouse jockey at my organization why blinking bright red text is really a bad idea for our web site. I can just ignore the request until I’ve implemented something that will work within our design standards.

    Like

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  9. to Woodstock:

    I am also a web/interactive designer and coincidentally the emails Tim Ferris is quoting in this blog post are from me.

    as web designers much of our work is time-sensitive and not everybody really “gets” design so i was initially concerned i would be spending tons of time on the phone explaining/justifying my decisions to people (re: blinking bright red text on a website as a bad idea) . this hasnt been the case at all.

    It’s become clear all around my office that “email response” isn’t synonymous with “instant response” and any conversations i’ve had about maintaining design integrity have been much shorter phone chats than if i wasted time typing emails back & forth.

    (and yes. if it’s an email request for a giant blinking red text with background music & a flying bee mouse cursor I do just ignore the email. If they REALLY want it, they’ll call to discuss. but the phone hasn’t rang yet and everybody’s happy).

    Like

  10. Hi Marci and Woodstock,

    Tim is on the money. The key here is being able to decide when you check and respond to e-mail, not necessarily checking it twice daily. For some, like Marci, that would be overkill. For Woodstock, he is correctly (I do the same) funneling people to e-mail as his preferred method of communication. The two-times-per-day recommendation was made at SXSW, where most attendees were online and either emailing or Twittering during ALL presentations!

    The point of the autoresponder, and much of what I recommend, is controlling the frequency and quantity of your information intake. You need both to prevent overload, but how each of us will implement the tools differs.

    Good observations,

    Tim

    Like

  11. Like the concept, but the volume of emails is still in your inbox. Do you simply ignore the rest that you cannot get to at 11 and 4pm? How do you prioritize them without actually reading them (or at least the 3 line preview?) Seems like you might just be ‘batching’ the same volume of emails, but just in one bunch (which is also more productive) but I’m not sure I’m convinced yet that you’re able to address the inquiries that come into your inbox.

    Like

  12. Hi Kris,

    There are a few approaches to reducing volume. I’ll have a PDF manifesto coming out soon with ChangeThis (started by Seth Godin) that discusses that in depth. If an entrepreneur, you (re)design your business with information flow in mind. If an employee, you use 80/20 analysis applied to how your performance is measured to determine which tasks/emails/people should be responded to at what intervals (daily, every Friday, every two weeks, not at all).

    You will need to accept that some people are more important than others, and some people aren’t important at all, as it relates to your goals. This isn’t being cold, it’s avoiding inevitable overload. This means that you can take simple steps, like not responding e-mails that don’t ask for a response or contain a question, and you can take more absolute steps, like depending on an autoresponder to set expectations that allow you to ignore responding to most altogether.

    There are ways to do this without alienating everyone. In fact, there are ways to do this that will make others respect you more. Keep an eye on ChangeThis — my manifesto should come out in a few weeks, and I’ll announce it on the blog.

    Good questions!

    Tim

    Like

  13. Tim,

    I’d love to receive more e-mails from clients and partners instead of so many damn phone calls. This is before using any autoresponder. I live in a culture where everyone thinks so much of speed that writing an email seems to take more time–and request more information and thought (duh!)–than making a call.

    Of course, my phone can’t do autoresponders and it can neither be closed, for more reasons than one. I tried asking, explaining, not answering (screening, if you please) instantly. And I can be as good as Jacobs’ Asha, I was trained to be good. What do you suggest?

    On a different note, I’ve realised some less than a month ago that once I solved a client request in my mind, I had little interest in executing it on paper or whatever support. It explains why I dream of outsourcing that part of my job every so often. I just need to figure out to whom. Indians are too expensive for me at the moment :)

    Thanks for confirming my thinking, at large. It shouldn’t be so damn hard; it shouldn’t be about retirement.

    Like

  14. Holy crap! How am I going to ween myself off of the crack-pipe known as my ‘Inbox’!?!?

    This is going to be tough…I mean, I’ve already checked this page three times for new posts! What should I do if I have OCD tendencies? Huh? I mean really…what would I do if I had OCD tendencies? OCD tendencies?

    Ha! Seriously – thanks for the info; this seems like a wonderful policy to adopt. Bye bye ‘new message alert’.

    Thanks,
    -TC

    Like

  15. Tim — Love the book and your approach to time/task management. So simple and effective. I read “Getting Things Done” twice and did not become as focused or efficient until I tried your email policy.

    For those of you who are afraid to take the leap of checking email 1-2 times a day just try it. As a managing partner of a small design/marketing/web agency my goal was is to always make sure the client feels taken care of. Well, after hearing the SXSW podcast I started scaling back immediate replies to clients and am now batching emails twice a day… Email from clients is much more focused and clear, the phone is not ringing as much, and we’re getting *much* more done and revenues are growing even faster!

    I have found Tim’s approach to communication to be similar to the “Girlfriend Factor”… When you have a girlfriend you tend to attract more attention from other women. Well this approach to communication has worked with clients and prospects. It has *increased* prospects’ need to work with us (I don’t know why but we’re closing a higher percentage of our deals this year) and, on top of that, our current clients are much more focused when they send in a request. Clients are even sending us their deliverables on time with fewer questions!

    Like

  16. what email client do you use tim?

    do you use gmail, outlook, etc

    since you are mobile most of the time my assumption is that you are more web based to facilitate flexibility

    Like

  17. I work in a school and the most amazing thing has happened. Everything has become dependent on email and the internet. Now, mind you, I like email and the internet, but there is no reason in my mind to stop a conversation with a real live human being to read an email that has just come in on a blackberry. A most excellent idea to go on an information diet. Great idea. Thank you.

    Michael

    Like

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  19. Why should any Interactive Brand Manager be in favor of an “idea” that could possibly bring X amount of detriment to the whole economics of interactive marketing? Unless he wants to cause some volatility to his own ‘stability’ (i.e. job) in the interactive media industry. Perhaps? LOL :)

    Anyhow, twice a days sounds awesome! for TIME IS SCARCE.

    Like

  20. Wow – this approach is revolutionary – it’s about time someone came up with the idea and put it forward in a coherent manner! I’m in account management at an insurance/investments company, and find myself easily spending up to half my working day browsing my inbox. This includes cursory views (“in case it’s urgent”), re-reading emails that weren’t read properly the first time due to an “ADHD” tendency to be distracted by other incomings.. I’m going to try this approach starting tomorrow and see what happens. I suspect it will improve my productivity etc immensely. Having read comments etc on this topic, it dawned on me that inasmuch as “company culture” exists, so does one’s “personal culture” – i.e. you take a general approach to things for long enough, and reinforce it consistently enough, people begin to expect it of you and don’t think twice. The hard part of course is changing the culture.

    Like

  21. It wasn’t until I started work in my current job that I realized how ridiculous email communication can become. Today I had a person attach a copy of a document I’d sent her for me to delete one paragraph, attach the revised document to an email, and send it back. It is for “urgent” needs such as that one that I must be available at my monitor for the whole business day (whether at home or in the office.)

    I just plowed through the book over the past two days. Your thoughts have confirmed the conclusion I’ve been avoiding — elimination is the only solution for my job!

    Like

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  23. We have been talking about Tim’s book quite a bit on our blog and podcast. My co-host, Jay, did a post about “Cutting the email leash” and I did a series called “The Information Diet”. If it interests you to see parts of the book in action please checkout our site by clicking on my name above.

    We have been so changed by the book and we cannot wait for our interview next month, thanks Tim!

    Like

  24. I have a contrarian view to offer on Blackberrys, Treos, etc. After years of working as a fitness trainer and getting on a computer only for short bursts, I find it easy to use the handheld on the “twice-a-day” basis. It’s when I sit down at the desk that I get sucked in to Web browsing, writing long messages that would be painful on the handheld, etc.

    Like

  25. Sweet! I just began reading about this 4hr work week book/site today. I already had this part executed. My inbox sends an auto reply stating something like, “my inbox requests stays full this time of year, so for immediate attention please call me.”
    I am in a performance environment where call time is monitored. My incoming call time and incoming call quantity is the highest on the entire sales floor. So is my revenue number and my margin number. I am the top performer here, so I can concur… THIS STRATEGY WORKS! ( I am happy to know that I am on the same page so far with this book/site). I will read on now. THanks
    Shawn

    Like

  26. Love this idea..but how to set it up in Hotmail!

    Famously the owner of a billion pound mobile phone company banned his staff from using email…his name was John Caldwell. Seemed to work!
    Thanks Tim for a great book. Hope to meet you one day. Life the workout routine too.

    Like

  27. Today I decided to try cutting back my email addiction by only checking my email twice a day. I sent out a brief email to my colleagues and my boss. It basically stated that I would be responding to emails at 10am and 4pm in an effort to become more productive and to call me if the matter was urgent.

    Instead of warm reception from my boss, I was told to retract my email, and to basically be at anyone’s beckon call. Any ideas on how to approach this from a different angle?

    Like

  28. Chris -

    I had a similar problem but I decided to get creative. Remember, this is about re-training those around you to respect your time. (or to develop new expectations about your responsiveness) I retracted my email auto-response by request and simply stopped responding to most emails except around 10am and 4pm. (and now only at 4pm pretty much)

    Simply speaking, I created a rule in Exchange/Outlook to move all incoming mail to a separate folder that I never checked except at 10am and 4pm. I added exceptions for a few key people, like my boss and a few key team members I work closely with. I also added one customer who is having problems right now. I setup outlook to download email every 30 minutes from my “VIP” folder only.

    For the first two weeks I responded to my boss pretty quickly. Now after a month I respond once a day. I just had to ease him in to it. Remember, its about giving the appearance of responsiveness, and even then, its simply a tool to wean people off of you.

    A partial remote work agreement is probably required or you’ll be judged more by your presence than your results.

    The key, however, was to demonstrate outstanding value in more important areas. My ever increasing response time became less important in a very short time as valuable work was being delivered that mattered.

    In about a month I went from 60 hours a week in the office where I responded to email constantly and attended many meetings per day to less than 10 hours a week in the office and probably only 30 hours per week total work time. I attend 1-2 meetings per week now.

    I even refuse meetings from my boss. ;^) I’m not kidding. However, after a month, he told me that I made him realize that he has too many meetings and that he should cut back.

    What has been the result of all of this? There are too many to list, but I’ve been asked if I’m interested in management, two different teams are fighting over me because they want me to work for them, and I just got rated in the top 10% of the entire organization. My past months accomplishments were cited as ‘proof’ of my value.

    I tested assumptions and found some ‘work arounds’ that paid off. Now everyone is trained to expect a slow email response time, but in their mind, I’m so busy with important stuff its okay.

    Like

  29. OMG, Tim you have to see this, this is hilarious and oh-so-sad; YES they really are serious:

    http://www.3dmailbox.com/trailer/index.html

    From the site:

    “New email meets the Bouncer (spam filter) at the entrance, takes a cooling, disinfecting shower then takes the plunge into your inbox and swims until you read it.Once read, they hang out poolside until you move them to a cabana (mailbox).Spam gets sent to the beach to await their fate at the jaws of the Great White Sharks.If the Bouncer can’t decide if email is good or spam, it chills in the Ice Rink until you decide. If you delete good mail, it goes to the trash alley.”

    ROFL.

    Enjoy that one.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

    Like

  30. I just went to send you an email, seeing that I finally bought your book, and I was going to forward you the Amazon confirmation of that blessed event, and, Lo and Behold, I didn’t have your email address any more. This, then, must suffice.

    I hope sales are going well. Do you think getting rid of your trailing “s,” that embedded sibilance, would lighten your load, revamp your feng shui, and increase your productivity still more?

    Like

  31. A lot of people put Email as priority #1 each day. It is the first thing they do each day… which usually means that their entire day’s plan is shot to hell.

    Avoid this habit. It is better to recognize that the morons who are emailing you first thing in the morning for something they want done “now” are the people who need to be prioritized.

    Like

  32. Check email triple a month? Hm, maybe it’s better to cancel using email at all than? I think it’s near optimal to check emails every two hours or so. It’s not too often and not too seldom.

    Tim

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  35. This wouldn’t work for me. I am freelancer, if the client sends an email s/he wants to know NOW if I am available. Phones take too much time and interstate calls are expensive here.

    I just use the old filters if it’s one of my clients I receive the message in my cellphone.

    Like

  36. I can see this being a very good thing but in the posistion I have I feel that this would give me more work!
    Most of the humans I work with needed stuff yesterday! and I’m the only human who has access to the color printer (do to humans abusing it) there for I get at least 12 e-mails a day asking me to print something up before their 2pm meeting or 10am meeting They all meet at different times!
    If i don’t print right away they do call me and make sure i got the e-mail! And the same goes for packages i get last minute packages sent at 10am and needing them done by 12 noon and printed.
    My question is if i take action on your blog and only check e-mail 2-3 times a day (every hour would be best) with the last minutes i get on a daily basis how would this help me and my time managerment?
    Please repsond I love your blog but this has always been hard for me to wrap my head around!
    BTW I work in radio on demand company you ask you get period. no expeations or find a new job!

    Like

  37. Just read the lastest issue of Fast Company (September 2007). ‘The Scoble Show’ column extolls the virtues of Twitter, although I guess he’s speaking more to the marketing opportunities than to the productivity loss/gain derived from using it.

    Like

  38. One of the reasons I have a BlackBerry is for the freedom it gives me. That might seem like an oxymoron, but hear me out. Since I have the BlackBerry, I can justify leaving work/client sites/whatever much earlier than I could otherwise.

    One really simple way to apply the principle discussed here (I’m considering using it) is to switch the profile on the BB to a Phone Only profile for hours outside your email check, and then back to one that allows messages and calls during your email time.

    Thoughts?

    ###

    Hi Steve,

    This is completely viable IF — and it’s a big “if” — you can control the impulse to check e-mail when a computer is sitting in your pocket. Another friend canceled his data plan on his Blackberry, so he is unable to send e-mail but still able to send text messages.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    Tim

    Like

  39. I guess I just don’t understand this… The reason why I prefer email to phone calls is that I can check it whenever I want, and people are NOT expecting me to get back to them right away. I guess it must have to do with the fact that I don’t work in an office, so people don’t think I am glued to a terminal all day. But they do expect calls to be returned quickly, maybe within a couple of hours. It seems there is much more leniency towards email, though. Which is why, though it is my preferred mode of communication, even my closest friends and nicest clients keep calling me… I actually even considered putting my email address on my outgoing voicemail message, to encourage people to email me instead of leaving a message.
    I am often either in session, concentrated on a project, or otherwise engaged, so I rarely even pick up my phone. When I then listen to voicemail, I often have to deal with the ramblings of the person leaving a message. Or worse, they tell me “Can you please call me back?” even when they just want to chat or something. I find the phone to be the single biggest interrupting annoyance.
    With email, I can chose to skim it, delete it, or reply later. I can read email while I am on hold (which happens a lot during my phone interpretation work), or, if I had a Blackberry, on the noisy train, where phoning is hard to impossible. Email also gives me the opportunity to ponder an offer, think out a careful reply, cut and paste directions to my place (maybe even add a map!)… But, most of all, I feel like I can read email whenever I want. Which, ultimately, is what you are talking about: design your own time, and not be at everybody’s beck and call. Though I totally understand advising people to cut back on the frequency with which they check email, I really can’t wrap my head around asking clients and colleagues to call instead. That seems to be asking to be interrupted all the time.
    Thanks for your blog! Really enjoying it!

    Like

  40. “My business e-mail autoresponder, on the other hand, gives me the option to check email once every 7-10 days. Shoot a note to see how it’s done.”

    I didn’t get the auto-response :-(

    Would love to see it!

    ###

    Hi Goby,

    I also use SpamArrest, so a few people receive the confirmation e-mail in their spam folder. Just “whitelist” the e-mail in the book if you can (make it an always-approved e-mail address) or look out in your spam folder. Thanks for the comment!

    Tim

    Like

  41. A few comments…

    1. Tim, thanks for a great book. I got the audio version and listen to it on my iPhone.

    2. To all the people who are saying, “I want to check email on my Hotmail account”: What the hell is stopping you? If you want to use the strategy of checking email twice daily, what is stopping you from only logging in to your Hotmail account at 10am and 4pm? Stay away from it and set alarms at these times if you need reminders. Maybe I just don’t get it but why would someone ask how to check web email twice a day?

    3. SpamArrest. Tim, you don’t need whitelisting or challenge/response to keep spam out of your Inbox. I use a simple strategy called Mail-Washing that I describe here http://www.iadam.org/. Ping me off-list if it does not make sense or if you want me to set up a test of it for you. I get virtually no spam at all and I don’t make people type “Pretty Dog” into a box to confirm that they are human or ask them to state why they want to contact me.

    4. To the folks who would rather have email because they can answer it on their own time schedule and it is not as immediate as a phone call: Have you heard of voicemail? GrandCentral.com has a free voicemail account that you can refer folks to as your contact number. Voice messages are sent as .wav or .mp3 files to your email account, which, as you know you check twice daily on your own schedule. And just because the phone rings does not mean you must answer it. Which leads me to…

    5. BlackBerries and iPhones and bears…oh my! Here is an interesting thought: What if you wanted to have mobile email to give you “freedom” away from a computer, but you did not want the interruptions? What if it were possible to turn the email alert button on your iPhone or BlackBerry to “silent” (not vibrate), and then set an alarm on the unit to go off at 10am to remind you to look at your blackberry and process email? Hmmm… requires a lot of self-discipline but the thing has both an off switch as well as a silent setting!

    6. To the fellow who had the boss who got mad at him for not being responsive enough to an email sent at 9pm: Been there, done that. You need to look for a new job and give your notice. It is simply unhealthy working for someone like that. Run…now.

    7. Regarding notifying the office that you’ll be checking email twice daily: Why notify them at all, just do it and mention it in person when you see someone. If you send out an all-office email it just becomes ammunition for those who want to sabotage your job or torpedo you. Just do it. They will get it if they want to get things from you. If they have a problem with it, meet in person to discuss, that way there is no written record of how you respond to their whining.

    8. Good rule of thumb: If it’s longer than two paragraphs or you’re writing longer than 2 minutes it really should be a 2 minute phone call. Get a timer and practice cutting yourself or the other person off after two minutes.

    Thanks

    Adam

    boettiger@pobox.com

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  42. hmm.. I’d love to do this, but unfortunately, email is the best method for gathering information, and email conversations take place, meaning I ask a question they reply with info, I reply with other questions or more info. Things get sorted via email better because you can read and re-read what they say and spend time figuring out what they mean and want.

    I prefer email to phone because then I have a written record of the information that I can refer to. I don’t want to scribble notes while i talk on the phone, plus I can better phrase the questions via email. Oh, and the phone is a worse interruption than email. it’s an annoying noise that i MUST respond to at that time whether I want to or not

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