Sitesurfer Resources:

10 Tips to Eliminate Email Overload

Gary Phillips, Sitesurfer Publishing

"700 emails! I take one week off and come back to 700 emails in my inbox?! Are you kidding me? After returning Monday, I was still sorting it out on Tuesday Afternoon! Two work days lost. Even when we're not having some much needed time off, 30% of each work day is spent sorting through email?

But Communication through email is essential!

Of course it is. Nobody wants to eliminate it. But when an estimated 141 billion (yes billion!) are sent each day, someone has to ask: Are we doing everything we can do to avoid this Email Overload?

10 handy dandy tips to eliminate email overload!

A series of shortcuts and standards that will make all of our electronic lives more manageable:

  1. Subject Line - this excellent resource is under-utilized constantly. Give the reader a summary of what the email is about and grab their attention. This lets them decide the priority and review the information before they delve into the email itself. This can eliminate countless emails that the receiver has no need for...
  2. Email Body - Short paragraphs, one to two sentences at most, lend more white space and an uncluttered page that makes for quicker skimming to a time short reader.
  3. Lists and Bullets - We love getting information in lists. Quicker, cleaner, white space - what's not to love?
  4. Signature - Another under-utilized aspect of email. Not only can it often answer questions that can avoid yet another email about where you are or how someone can reach you, it also is a tremendous resource for advertising, website traffic and contacts (but note to keep it simple: no graphics or fancy links that might weigh down an email).
  5. Summarize- Don't assume the person receiving your email remembers or has time to search for the reason that you are writing them back. Summarize in the body as well as the Subject Line.
  6. ALL CAPS - Use CAPS sparingly, they make you look like a spammer and are very hard on the weary eyes of the reader. Also, go easy on the '!!!' and "$$$" for the same reasons!!!
  7. Brevity- Be clear, concise and to the point, keep the page clean and friendly to the readers eye.
  8. Humor, Anger and Confidentiality- It's really hard to write humor in email. Sarcasm and funny stuff usually means confusion and results in further emails (what we're trying to avoid). (Flaming) or anger is not very smart because just like Humor, it never quite comes across right in an email and you end up looking silly. Plus, if you say something really nasty, Confidentiality- Emails are all saved somewhere, even if you delete it from your inbox, etc. etc. There is no confidentiality. Not really. So basically, anything you shouldn't say in an email will sound stupid anyway.
  9. Chain Mail, Forwards-Are you kidding me? At this point we've all seen a chain mail or one of those Please send to 10 friends... emails. I don't like them, you feel uncomfortable, so just take the hit to your superstitious world and DON'T send that chain mail on!
  10. Forwarding, Bcc vs. Cc and Relevancy- If you forward someone's email to another for opinion or any reason, it is always appropriate to let the original writer know that someone may be contacting them. Same with Blind Copy versus Carbon Copy Does everybody you have copied really need to be copied? Is this email relevant to everyone? That's a good question. Is this relevant?
  11. Relevancy- Less is more. Think before you send. Do you watch before you "reply all" or just let that monster email with the 100 addresses in the Cc window loose on the world?

It turns out that half of my 700 emails were redundant responses and unwarranted forwarding. A serious waste of time and resources That we can all avoid.

I promise to eliminate unwarranted emails, make sure each email is user-friendly and do all I can to help eliminate the deluge of emails we all receive in our business and personal lives. Will you do the same?

Sitesurfer Publishing is an award-winning Internet development and electronic publishing agency serving regional, national, and international clientele. For more information, contact Gary Phillips at or at 321.574.5004.

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