A Secret Weapon in the Battle Against the Email Monster

There can definitely be too much of a good thing. Case in point: communication by email. It's wonderful to be able to communicate with people that we love all around the world all the time, but sometimes looking at a full inbox can feel like 50 people talking to you at once. If you're like me you deal with a lot of e-mails every day (maybe not as many as some, but still a lot). For a long time this meant I would never get to all of them. I felt too pressured to write long replies and there would always be several messages sitting there for days or weeks until I would magically find time to answer them. Enter the five sentence rule and now I've had an empty inbox at work and at home every night for months.

Five Sentences
The most helpful thing I've found in my battle against the inbox is the five.sentenc.es method, which I first heard about on ZenHabits. Nine times out of ten it's the best way for me to respond to any e-mail message. On occasion I'll include an attachment or forward someone to a website to find more information, but almost always the five sentences method allows me to clear my inbox every day (sometimes even using something small like an iPod Touch which I can take with me anywhere). 

Don't get me wrong, I love talking to people on the phone and on Skype forever - email is usually just not the place for those long conversations. Don't pressure yourself into crafting the perfect reply. Stick to five sentences, clear your inbox, move on to more complete conversations person-to-person, and enjoy a less stressful digital life. Good luck!

Once you empty out that inbox, come say "hi!" on Facebook!
Picture from Nerd Merit Badges