Get Your Email Habits In Order

“It is in self-limitation that a master first shows himself.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Natur und Kunst)

You know the ETR rule on e-mail: Unless you are in the very unusual situation of being responsible for hourly deadlines (in which case you probably need to work your way up in the organization), you should write/read/answer your e-mail only once or twice a day.

You should limit the time you spend on it and stick to that limit.

You should also train those who e-mail you to keep their messages short and to the point. Tell them that very few messages need to be more than a screen-page long — and that when they pose a problem, it should always be presented to you with multiple-choice solutions.

So if you are on e-mail more than twice a day, stop it. If you are receiving a lot of unnecessarily long and/or unproductive messages, say something (diplomatically) to curtail them. If you are sending out long messages yourself, make a resolution to keep everything possible to a page or less.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]