Little things to make email better

We are all drowning in email.

It’s so bad that people will tweet when they get to inbox-zero. I don’t blame them. It feels good getting to that magical place.

There are a number of reasons why email is hard to manage. The default setting doesn’t make sense – the most recent stuff bubbles to the top, not the most important or even relevant. And unlike a network like Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr, you can’t curate the people you “follow”. The inbox is just a box that gets filled up by whoever wants to leave you a little something.

So until some kick ass startup makes our inbox more manageable, here’s a few things I’m focused on:

1 – I’m paying close attention to the number of emails I send out. I had lunch with Caterina Fake and Chris Dixon last week. Caterina reminded me of this important fact. The more emails you send, the more you get back.

2 – I’m deleting emails I never want to see again rather then leave them in my inbox. I’ve started this already and it’s paying off big time.

3 – I tweet and blog when I’m on vacation. It’s much better than a standard “Out Of Office” auto response. When people see your tweets on vacation they are mindful of the emails they send you and they hold off. With “out of office”, others don’t know you are out until after they fire of the email. Big difference.

4. Never get into a serious debate or argument over email. It’s just not efficient and it can backfire. The other side sees a short/terse email response with a different point of view and it comes of nasty or disrespectful. Then it snowballs from there. When I see an email thread going sideways, I just pick up the phone or suggest a time to talk.

Love to hear how others make email better. I’m all ears.