10 tips for writing more effective emails

Cutting excess words is the start. Begin with a call to action, keep details relevant, and don’t send messages to people who really don’t have to be in the loop.

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Email has to change.

It’s an outdated system with a terrible track record of effectiveness. It’s difficult to share documents, the system is built around individuals (not projects), and the knowledge buried within inboxes can be impossible to recover. Some companies have eliminated email from their work structure.

Yet email often seems to define our days, taking up as much as 25 percent of the workday. We’re stuck with it as long as we have to communicate with other people who use email (i.e., pretty much everyone).

Plenty of tricks can make email more efficient. You can limit your emailing to certain hours, chase the dream of inbox zero with apps like Mailbox, and use email hacks to ensure no message slips through the cracks.

But the best way to wrangle email starts with you.

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