Email is a personal scourge of mine, as I presume it is for most busy professionals. I’d rather be talking to customers, writing blog posts, coming up with our next great Snuggie® promotion, or some other odd thing I do during the business day.
For lawyers, getting sucked into an email morass can be a black hole for profits, considering the billable hour nature of legal work.
Enter the three sentence email, a meme which has been circulating around tech circles. The whole idea is spelled out elegantly on the site three.sentenc.es, and advocates responses of three sentences or less, much like an SMS message.
Not only does this practice reduce the amount of time you spend composing your emails, it reduces the amount of time reading emails for your recipients. And if the whole world embraces three sentence emails, then we’ll all spend a lot less time reading email.
An article on TechCrunch on this subject offers up some alarming time-sucking statistics about email usage:
The inbox has become the “dreaded inbox” for so many people. A recent study by Xobni claimed 1 in 5 Americans check email either as the first thing they do in the morning or the last thing at night. 26% of Americans feel they can’t handle or feel overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive during vacation. Another report by The Radicati Group says the typical corporate user sends 36 emails and receives 61 legitimate emails during the average day. An IDC study estimates email consumes an average of 13 hours per week per information worker.
Three sentence emails, combined with Paul Burton’s QuietSpacing techniques on email usage that we learned about in our last webinar, give me at least a sense of control over my inbox so it doesn’t spill over and bite enormous chunks out of the rest of my day.
But here’s the important part: you gotta spread the word, so we’re all reading short itty bitty emails.