An Email Charter


  • Ever had a day when 5pm rolled around and you felt you hadn’t done any work but answer emails?
  • Ever read through an email and not understood what the sender wanted you to do?
  • Thought an email contained an important attachment, only to find it was an image in the sender’s logo?

I’m guessing we’ve all had the aboveĀ  frustrations – and worse – with our email. I’ve written before on some strategies to up productivity in relation to email. Oatmeal took a more humorous look at bad email behaviour with the “If you do this in an email I hate you“, prompting wry chuckles as it was emailed around the world.

Now Chris from TED has taken a more radical approach to the whole email problem.

He points that it is a scarcity issue – scarcity of attention, and that an email may cost more attention to resolve than it takes to create it; particularly when you take all the cc’s into account.

So he’s proposing an email charter, that we can all sign up to to curb our own email excesses. Some are known – limit the use of cc, keep it short, avoid responding when you feel angry. But he also proposes using some standard abbreviations, for example eom for “end of message” at the end of the subject line when there is no text inside the email.

There are good ideas and a range of comments – join the discussion.

Image Breathe while reading your email! / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0