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.

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Recipe for work happiness

You don't have to look hard to find a motivational quote. 

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do" - Steve Jobs

How about a do this/get that work strategy.

"Sharpen the saw" by Steven Covey.  Preserve and enhance the greatest asset - you!

There are rows and rows of books in the stores on ways to find happiness in your work -- thousands if you go online.  

The issue I have with these quotes is they address work happiness at the macro-level.   If you love what you do, you will do great work.  Let's be serious, there are always parts of work that you don't want to do.

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No apologies

Apologies are overused, they impose guilt, and drain your time and energy.

Not only are apologies overused, they are often followed by an excuse.  Example: "I'm sorry I didn't get you called sooner, I was [fill in the blank]."  If you start an e-mail or phone call this way, you've just wasted valuable time thinking about the apology and stating it.  Additionally, you have lowered your confidence and self-esteem.  To make it worse - apologies are not effective for either person;  your groveling apology doesn't make you feel better and it has a small, if any, affect on the other person.

Apologies should be reserved for mistakes.  You missed a meeting.  You overlooked a deadline.  You returned a phone call a month after the voicemail.

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Improve your work performance

I'm starting my fifth work week after the holiday season.  December is always slow because my main areas of practice are family law and wills.  It makes sense that, in December, people would not (1) be interested in spending money on an attorney; and (2) start a custody action or think about what happens when they die.  But I digress.

After my 2-week holiday vacation, I was not prepared for the huge influx of e-mails and prospective client requests.  I was, however, excited (and relieved).  Then two weeks later I realized I had hopped on the treadmill of a reactive approach to work.

I let emergencies, not of my own doing, take priority of my plans for a productive day.  These reactive decisions would affect the rest of the week.  When I would finish helping with the emergency, I would remind myself not to do it again.  And then, I did it again.

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