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Root out e-mail inefficiency

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in Workplace Communication

While e-mail can save you from playing phone tag, it also can be abused. Take this quiz to assess how you manage your messages:

1. How many times a day do you check e-mail?

A. Once a day.

B. Twice a day.

C. Once an hour.

D. Constantly.

2. Under what circumstances will you check e-mail?

A. Only when expecting an important message.

B. Several times a day at regular intervals.

C. Whenever a new message has arrived.

D. Whenever I want to decompress or kill time.

3. When do you answer e-mail?

A. When a quick reply is necessary, right away.

B. At the end of the day, I answer that day’s batch of messages.

C. Whenever someone I know e-mails me.

D. Whenever anyone e-mails me.

4. How much do you tend to write in an e-mail?

A. Just the relevant facts or answers to the sender’s questions.

B. The main points, along with examples and/or asides to enliven the text.

C. A complete message with useful, interesting or funny attachments.

D. Whatever comes to mind.

While there are no right answers, beware of any C or D choices. These indicate a possible impulsiveness and lack of planning that prevents you from working smart. A and B answers are acceptable in most businesses, although if you receive more than five e-mails an hour you may need to check incoming messages more frequently and respond promptly.

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