I don’t know exactly when I decided I hate e-mail. But sometime over the course of the past few years, I’ve decided it’s the one thing I hate more than just about anything.
I hate that people send an e-mail with an attachment verses coming by and showing me work. I hate that I get plenty of ‘cover your ass’ e-mail instead of people telling me what’s really going on. But most of all, I hate the volume of e-mail I get every day. If I sat and really read and responded to every e-mail, I would have time to do nothing else.
This morning, I turned on my computer and looked down at my e-mail. Today I have 2910 items in my in-box, of those, 99 are unread. So I decided to look at the 99 unread e-mails. Of those, 25 we’re automatic reminders to approve expense reports, 12 were second reminders to approve expense reports, 5 were PTO requests, 10 were online receipts for lunch orders (while eating at my desk so I can read e-mails), 3 agency wide e-mails that I wrote (which I don’t have to read) and some stray promotional e-mails from photographers, production houses and retouchers.
The rest – are probably really important e-mails that get lost in the sea of e-mails. Here are some that I probably should have read sooner:
Subject: Today’s presentation – Immediate response needed
Hmmm, I probably should have looked at that one when it was send last Thursday.
Subject: Call me before you leave the office
Opps that was sent to me two weeks ago. Interestingly, the person never called me to find out why I never called.
Subject: Touching base
OK, here’s a trick – if you’re trying to get my attention don’t send an e-mail that says ‘Touching Base.’ Because I view my e-mails by subject, every e-mail called ‘Touching Base’ gets lumped together. Right now, I have 7 e-mails all titled ‘Touching Base.’ I haven’t read any of them. Mostly because they’re from people I don’t know. But also because if you really wanted to touch base, you’d come to my base (my office) and ask me a question. The one on top of the pile that I didn’t read was from January 24th, “Hello (notice a form letter not personalized), I am in the marketing and lead generation industry …” Thank heavens I didn’t take time out of my day to read that one.
Subject: DEADLINE APPROACHING!!
I think I didn’t read this because of the use of ALL CAPS and the double exclamation point. Actually, the real reason is that it’s the 500th e-mail from my son’s school looking for a donation (which I already made on the first e-mail).
Subject: Richard, it’s your lucky day
A free subscription to an industry magazine that I already get for free is not what I’d call my lucky day. Perhaps Richard, you just won $100 million in the lottery – I would consider THAT a lucky day. Or maybe even, Richard, you just won someone to read all you unread e-mail – that would be an incredible prize.
But of all the unread e-mail this is my favorite:
Subject: Got a minute?
No, I don’t. In fact, this week I’ve received 19 e-mails all with the subject line ‘Got A Minute?’ Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t respond to these e-mail eventually. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. What it means is that in my time stretched day, writing an e-mail that asks ‘Got A Minute’ is too easy for me to answer ‘no, I don’t.’ Now an interesting subject line should be, ‘What can I take off your plate?’
Anyway, enough ranting about e-mails. Oh, by the way, in the time that it took me to write this post, I’ve received 47 more e-mails. I read only two.