So, here are three quick "tricks" I use:
- Close the door. When I respond to an email I make sure I don't have anything left for me to do when I click send. If I don't have all the information I need to get back to the person, I wait until I do before replying. This cuts way down on the back-and-forth emails that tend to be unnecessary.
- Hit the Delete button. After I respond to an email I immediately delete it from my inbox. I use Mail on my MacBook, so if I need something it's technically saved and retrievable. But the bottom line is after I send the email I know I don't have anything left to follow up with. In other words, I know if there is something to follow up on it's the other person. My staff also knows that if I forward them something because they can better respond to it, it's deleted out of my inbox and therefore they are solely responsible to make sure the ball doesn't get dropped.
- Stop the Nonsense. I think inner office email is largely a waste of time. I just prefer to talk to people. So, on our staff we don't communicate through email. We actually talk to each other. Even if we have a document to give feedback on (whatever that may be) we don't do so via email, but rather through Google Drive. This helps cut down on the number of emails and helps all of us avoid the dreadful "reply-all" never ending trail of useless information.