Here are a few of the lessons learned from executives:
- LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner sends less email, believing he receives fewer in return: "After recognizing this dynamic, I decided to conduct an experiment where I wouldn't write an email unless absolutely necessary. End result: Materially fewer emails and a far more navigable inbox. I've tried to stick to the same rule ever since." Weiner is right, according to a 2013 study in London.
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seems to scare his employees when we forwards a customer complaint with only a question mark in his message. According to Businessweek, "When Amazon employees get a Bezos question mark email, they react as though they've discovered a ticking bomb. They've typically got a few hours to solve whatever issue the CEO has flagged and prepare a thorough explanation for how it occurred, a response that will be reviewed by a succession of managers before the answer is presented to Bezos himself."
- Zuckerberg Media Founder and CEO Randi Zuckerberg has two rules: "1. She waits at least 20 minutes after she's woken up before she checks it, and 2. She holds off on sending emails when she knows she's feeling overly emotional."
On the somewhat random list, others don't start with "I," wake up at 3:45 a.m. (or 5:30 a.m.), don't check email right before bed, hire "email ninja" to help, or ask people to specify by when they need a response.
The CEO of Hootsuite sometimes "declares inbox bankruptcy" and deletes everything. He recommends doing this only occasionally and letting people know in a disclaimer. This is the second time I've heard this strategy in the past two weeks, and it scares me. I would never do it. What if I miss a great opportunity or an email from a student in crisis?
- What are your biggest challenges in managing email? Which of these tips may help you?
- What's your view of "inbox bankruptcy"? Who can get away with this and under what circumstances?