Save tons of time with your e-mail

Today, I realized I was spending an unnecessary 3 seconds for each e-mail I drafted.

Here was the culprit phrase "Let me know if you have any questions."

In my blog, I have offered different approaches for managing e-mail to prevent it from consuming your work flow.  Add this one to your arsenal.

This week I had a littered inbox, so I asked myself a few questions about my approach to e-mail.
(1) Why am drafting e-mails as if they were going to be published in tomorrow's paper?
(2) Why do I have to cover every single question that has yet to be asked?
(3) Can I draft professional e-mails with fewer words and achieve the same effect?

To keep things simple for this post, I am going to give you a single challenge -- amend your e-mail sign-off.

This would be my amendment.
Nope: "Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks, Hope [automatic signature block]
Good: "Thanks, Hope" [automatic signature block]
Better:  Hope [automatic signature block]
Best: [automatic signature block]

If the "Best" version appears to choppy or unprofessional, I can make changes to my automated signature block.  

There are other ways to save tons of time with your e-mail.
1.  Apply the 2-minute rule - if you can't reply in 2 minutes, call the person.
2.  Keep your e-mails to a single issue, more than that - call the person.
3.  Keep your threads short, if you do more than two replies to the same e-mail - call the person.
4.  Don't answer questions before they are asked.  

4. (Addendum) - if you want to make sure certain information is in an e-mail, draft the content in an e-mail draft, keep it in your drafts - then copy/paste to the current e-mail you are drafting.  I have an e-mail draft that has directions to my office and directions to the courthouse - both include parking information and troubleshooting (because both are downtown Des Moines).  I have an e-mail draft that has the steps for forming an LLC, and the process for executing a will and other transactional work I perform.  

Start your sign-off challenge today!

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