Dealing efficiently with Email-bound requests

If you’re like me, a significant number of the tasks you do every day originated from an email request. Here’s a tip for dealing with these requests much more efficiently.

When someone sends you an email message asking you to perform some “urgent task,” all you have to do is immediately respond with a question. Preferably something they won’t be able to answer right away– something that will require a bit of research or communication with someone else.

If your phone rings (or they respond via email) 30 seconds later, you know it really was an urgent task. Act accordingly.

However, literally 90% of the time you will never hear back. They may send you an email saying “I’ll have to get back to you on that,” which they never do. Seriously… this will save you a ton of time that would have been sent doing things that didn’t really need to be done. It is a great way to deal with pointy-haired-bosses. It sounds like a joke, but it works.

Obviously, you don’t want to do this with everyone, but we all have one or two people in our lives that generates a ton of tasks that are supposedly critical, but wind up being terribly unimportant.