The first suggestion is to read your e-mail no more than three to four times each day. Frequent interruptions to look at messages degrade your performance (See my post of Oct. 2, 2006 on multi-tasking’s drawbacks.). The second is to respond immediately to an e-mail if you can answer it within two minutes. Move other messages to appropriate folders and delete the messages that you don’t need to keep. This is a variation on the hard copy acronym of TRAF: trash it, respond to it, act on it, or file it.
The third suggestion, which along with the first two comes from Law Practice, Sept. 2006 at 49, is to clearly describe in the Subject line the contents of any message you send.
These are each productive ideas and can work in concert with ideas discussed previously (See my posts on e-mail of Oct. 22, 2005 and risk creation; July 14, 2005 and inefficient practices; Feb. 1, 2006 on listening to e-mails; June 16, 2006 on the economics of promiscuous messaging; June 21, 2006 on rules from one law department; and June 16, 2006 on suggestions for productivity.).