Time Management Ninja offers “9 Laws for Work Email.” They're all worth checking out. My favorite is "Keep it Short," with the suggestion that all emails be less than five lines long. But I particularly like this insight:
Do not expect an immediate response – In our hyper connected world, email is the new snail mail. Once upon a time, email was considered fast. Wanted a quick response? Send an email. But it has since been demoted down the communication response priority list. If you need a more immediate response: call, text, or come see me. Many people check email only 2-3 times a day and are turning off their work email on breaks and weekends.
It's just impossible for busy people to reply quickly anymore. Handhelds aren't the solution, and by contributing to the volume of sent email, arguably they're part of the problem. And constant checking and responding to emails is poor workflow. If you need an immediate response, better choose a different medium.
If you find these rules useful, be sure to visit Merlin Mann's series of posts on email best practices.
D. Mark Jackson