How many emails do you get in a day? On average, I receive almost 200 and that doesn’t include the 50 or 60 that Microsoft Outlook, in its infinite wisdom, determines are really junk. Let me break that down a bit more…if you assume I get 85% between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.—that’s 170 emails or about 14 per hour. That’s one email every 4 minutes. I know that’s way too many and I should probably reset my spam filter settings—but for the sake of this blog—please read on….
So how does one tackle the problem of so much email? Like most of you, I scan my inbox (mostly on my phone at work) for mail that I think is important based on: (1) who the sender is [trust]; (2) what the subject line is [relevance or intrigue]; or, (3) if it’s flagged or marked important or urgent by someone I know [also trust]. For these, I either flag them or read them right away. The rest usually stack up until I’m at my desk and can scan them while talking on the phone or doing something else. In my head, I’m making fast determinations of which ones to read and which ones to delete. If I’m not sure whether it’s important or not, I usually delete it.
So what does that say about me? And what does that say about email, in general?
About me? I’m sure I’m deleting and/or not reading a lot of email that may be important. My attention span looks something like this…
About email in general? It’s definitely not what it used to be. It used to be a powerful productivity tool. I could connect and report on important things with lots of people on my schedule without actually having to make small talk. Now, it’s a time suck. In fact, I stress out when I haven’t checked email all day and have to tackle the 100+ emails stacked up in my inbox.
So, how do you connect with someone like me if you’re not already in my circle of trust?
There are a lot of places you can learn stuff about me: our website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and websites for boards I sit on or organizations I’m a member of.
Sure, that takes time and energy. But, if you’re not really invested in getting to know me—a representative of your broader audience—then you probably shouldn’t take it personally when I send your email to the delete or junk folder.