Last week I wrote about the Sparrow Mail App and how it has increased my email efficiency. Just yesterday I learned that the app is going to be mothballed because the company that makes it has been acquired by Google. However, despite Sparrow’s short-lived status as my “go to” mail app, during my time with it, I gleaned two email efficiency techniques which are applicable to any email client. Both are quite simple, and when averaged out over a week’s worth of emails, they can save you much time.
Tip 1: Streamline your email signature
For the longest time, I’ve formatted my email signature as follows:
There’s a lot of good contact info in that signature; however, I’ve found that using the following signature helps me close emails quicker:
The reason for this is that with the first signature, I’m always tempted to add a closing above my name. Something like:
However, if your goal is to save time on your emails, that part is superfluous and unnecessary. In general, I find that most people I’m communicating with by email simply want to read my message, act on it if necessary and archive/delete it. Having Regards, Best Regards or Sincerely at the end doesn’t add anything to our conversation. Therefore, the second signature above helps me close my emails quicker because I’m no longer thinking about the appropriate closing word(s) to add before my name. I simply write what I need to say, and I let my signature close things out without pausing to think about it.
Tip 2: Drop the opening salutation
Since your email is already addressed to someone via the “to:” field, adding “Dear John” or “Dear Sally” at the beginning is redundant. The recipient already knows the message is being sent to him or her. So, over the course of a week’s worth of emails, you can save time by dropping the opening salutation.
Closing Thoughts – Use these tips judiciously
Finally, I’m not saying that you should use these tips 100% of the time. If you’ve never emailed someone before, using an opening salutation is probably a good idea. Likewise, use your name and a closing when they convey the right tone. Overall, the key point here is to help you think of ways you can streamline your email communications. If you tend to be drowning in your inbox, my two tips just might help you save some precious seconds per email which adds up to minutes and even hours over the long haul.