Become an E-mail Ninja

In 2004, Internet analyst Lawrence Lessig famously declared e-mail bankruptcy, proclaiming his intention to ignore all the old messages in his in-box. In the spirit of this curmudgeonly (yet highly effective) measure, we present more e-mail artistry.

→ Follow the Rule of Four: If any correspondence requires more than four e-mails in a short period of time, pick up the phone.

→ Pushy e-mailers should be treated like tailgaters: Just throw on the breaks! A slow response time lowers senders’ expectations.

→ If it’s you who’s the tailgater, wait until Wednesday to hit send. A study by eROI, an e-mail marketing firm, found that e-mail open rates improve midweek.

→ Don’t do one-word messages. Nothing destroys productivity faster than an endless cascade of Thanks, Okays, and LOLs.

→ Hire a virtual butler. Add-on applications like ClearContext act like gatekeepers, automatically rearranging messages in order of importance.

→ Be profligate with your e-mail accounts. Use one for newsletters, one for Facebook flirtations, and one for everybody else.

→ Strive to open each message only once. Either deal with it right away or delete it forever.

Become an E-mail Ninja