Photo by ajft@flickr
Finally, instead of just whining about overstuffing on e-mail, I can promote some easy and practical ways to start slimming down.
We are gorging ourselves on e-mail, and like any other form of excess, the bloating of our inboxes with a relentless feed of incoming messages can be harmful to our health. I know it raises my blood pressure when I’m in a hurry and forced to deal with thoughtlessly framed or formatted messages that cost me time and trouble before I even start dealing with the content.
The Email Charter is a ray of hope. Started by TED colleagues Chris Anderson and Jane Wulf, it consists of ten simple guidelines that, if universally—or just generally—practiced, would save us from e-mail obesity.
My own favorite is number 8: “Give These Gifts: EOM NNTR: If your email message can be expressed in half a dozen words, just put it in the subject line, followed by EOM (= End of Message). This saves the recipient having to actually open the message. Ending a note with ‘No need to respond’ or NNTR, is a wonderful act of generosity. Many acronyms confuse as much as help, but these two are golden and deserve wide adoption.”
An example of EOM would be a subject line reading “2 pm meeting changed to 3pm, EOM.” If the note required no response, NNTR could be added after EOM. (If it required response, the old standby RSVP would do.) Someone replying to the message could type “See you at 3 EOM” in the subject line. In all cases, the body of the e-mail would be blank and no one would even have to open it.
Read the charter and keep it in mind when e-mailing—it’s noncommercial, nonfat, and gluten-free.