In this day and age of the internet, email communications comprise many of our daily communications between friends, family members, and co-workers.
Because the use of it is so prevalent, we often take it for granted as to how important the communication really is. After all, all we have to do is hit a button, type a few words, and hit another button. This is FAR easier and more timely than the process of sending a letter or even making a phone call. Because of this, many people misuse email all the time.
Think about it, what do YOU do when you get an email? Sure, if it is something you have been waiting for you probably open it immediately and respond quickly. But, what if you don't view the communication as urgent? What happens then? It is likely that you simply pay it no mind. The email soon becomes buried as more and more show up in your inbox. Before long, the email is long gone, never to be heard from again. But, the person that sent it has not forgotten. They will soon send another one asking why you didn't respond to the first one. This might lead you to search for the FIRST one so you can remember the content and how you should respond exactly. This scenario happens all the time and if you aren't the one sitting on an unanswered email, then someone on the other end is probably sitting on one of yours. Why not choose a different approach? One that will help keep your inbox empty and your communications flowing.
When you get an email in your inbox, you should immediately do one of three things…
Delete the email (if you have responded or it is spam)
File the email in a folder and schedule a calendar remind to follow up to it later
If you follow the checklist above, your email inbox will remain empty, your communications will flow nicely, and you will never have to worry about missing an email and apologizing to the sender again. Now, just because the above is a recommended way to handle incoming emails, this does not mean you should drop everything you are doing to attend to them as soon as they hit your inbox. Instead, schedule certain times throughout the day to check and respond to emails.
Not only will this simple 1-2-3 system help YOU, think about the people who are SENDING the emails? Certainly they feel their communication is important or they wouldn't have bothered to send it. By responding and taking action quickly, you are letting them know that they are important to you and you appreciate their communication. Simply ignoring emails in this day and age is the equivalent of someone talking to you and you simply not responding. It is not polite at all. Now days, you can get away with saying you never got a phone call, but it is harder to use that excuse with email. We are ALL behind our keyboards much of the day and our email programs allow us to see if the message was delivered or not. Do yourself and those who communicate with you a favor…respond to emails in a timely fashion…it just makes sense.