– Read and respond only to those messages directed to you.
– If you are only copied, the message is informational only. If you are swamped, leave yourself out of the loop.
– Remove yourself from lists and let people know you’ve done so.
– Consider turning off your e-mail for a number of hours a day. Choose a time frame and be consistent with it. Tell people if they need an immediate response during those hours to call.
– Or remove the e-mail icon from your desktop and discipline yourself to check it at predetermined times and intervals, such as every two hours or at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Make others in your work group aware of your e-mail management plan.
Don’t have the discipline to do any of the above? Then odds are e-mail isn’t the real problem…
Closing thought: I tend to copy widely on e-mails because…
1. I see it as a courtesy to keep others informed of what is going on, keeping them in the information loop. I believe that a flat organization is the 21st century model.
2. Serendipity happens: I often receive interesting feedback from unexpected corners of the organization.
3. I have a voracious appetite for information and can skim messages rapidly. I assume others can as well or they will just scan the message’s subject line if not addressed directly to them.
4. I put a lot of effort into making the subject line a content-rich HEADLINE so that readers can get the gist of the message in seconds.