by Paul Casey

Little E-mail Habits to Stay Out of E-Jail

Email-Subject-Lines-that-Get-AttentionThe average worker spends 28% of their workweek reading and answering email! That’s 28,392 emails per year! And you might be throwing the average off! In my time (priority) management seminar, under “interruptors”, I give some tips to better make email work for you:

  • Create templates for emails for the same types of emails that you send out regularly. Save them in Word and copy/paste them with revisions into your email.
  • Use your subject-fields wisely: “Action needed:” “FYI only:” Sometimes, that’s the only teaser for getting emails you sent to be read! Sometimes I will write a whole sentence in the subject line and nothing in the body!
  • Get to the point quickly and limit your messages to 5 sentences to increase your productivity. No one wants to read a novel coming from you, and you probably procrastinate reading long ones yourself, right?
  • Only check email 3 times a day, in a pre-blocked-out half-hour. Or, if that’s impossible for your customer service standards, set specific times, like at the top of the hour, to respond–so that you aren’t a slave to each one as it hits your in-box.
  • Deal with what you can respond to in 90 seconds or less right away, and come back to emails that require more thought. If not, they pile up like a stack of papers on your desk.
  • Delete messages every time you open your in-box. Again, it’s the only way to stay ahead and not drown.
  • Set up an electronic filing system with folders for projects or priorities. One could be for your boss, or your top client. Then when you are ready to deal with everything along that theme, you block out time and it’s all there for you.
  • Try to leave with only ____ emails left undone. I can’t pick that number for you, but for me, it’s one screen of undealt-with emails. What is your goal? Inbox zero?
  • Unsubscribe from unnecessary ads, e-news you don’t read, and CC’s. Except Growing Forward ones! It’s amazing how this will lighten the volume of your in-box.

I know that there are many other email hacks, and let me know what yours are, so that I can pass them onto others along my journey. Have a productive, fantastic week! And head over to to get even more good tips to make your life more intentional and satisfying.


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