Last week we talked about email and how the answer to fixing email might be in how you handle the messages you send, rather than how you handle the messages you receive. There are five steps we can take to fix email, and the first step we discussed was brevity (and you can read the entire post here: Step 1 to Fixing Email).
The second step to fixing email has to do with clear subject lines. Every email needs a subject or a header – some programs will actually stop you from sending if you don’t have a subject listed – but not every subject line is a good one.
We’ve all seen those emails that hit our inbox and say ‘Zoom’ or ‘Deadline’ or even ‘Don’t forget’. At a glance how are we supposed to know what’s actually inside those emails until we take a moment and open them up to look? And every time we go to our email we end up having to reopen that same message to remind us of what is inside.
That’s why I’m a big proponent of clear and descriptive subject lines in your email. They allow you to quickly prioritize and categorize an email, letting you get back to your day that much faster. I’m talking about subject lines like ‘Zoom meeting at 7?’ or ‘Miller project deadline extended to Feb’ or even ‘Don’t forget to feed the fish’. See the difference?
So what’s your next step? Before you send another email, take a moment and consider what the email is really about. Does the subject line reflect that? Could the recipient tell at a glance what might be inside the email? Don’t forget either, that you may be able to change the subject line of an email before you respond to it.
How’s your email looking this week? Are you overwhelmed with incoming mail or do you feel like you’ve got it under control? Drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment here and let me know!
Don’t forget to join us next week for Step 3 to fixing email!