Reply All emails make you less productive



  • We tend to ignore things that are sent to large groups of people.  The Reply All email must be relevant to someone else if it’s not intended directly at you.
  • Reply All threads often fork into 2 or 3 separate conversations, wasting further time as you manage each part of the thread
  • Reply All messages sent in anger can rebound on the sender and start a flame war
  • Can you trust everyone on the ‘To:’ line not to propagate the message further?
  • Is the message actually meant for each of the recipients?
  • Are you wasting their time Replying to All?

Be productive – don’t hit that icon… It could come back and bite you…

Image from the Division of Labor new rules of work project

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


2 thoughts on “Reply All emails make you less productive

  1. James

    I used to use three or four measures for how much action a mail needed
    (a) How far acrosss the organisation did it come from. A mail from my boss, or her boss trumped a mail from the C.E.O. If the C.E.O announced something I needed to do, the boss, boss’s boss and country boss would all remind me.
    (b) How many recipients. Nothing which needed action from me had more than 100 recipients – see (a)
    (c) Number of bytes and number of sentances. A mail which the sender has time to pretty up with graphics is, ipso facto, non-urgent. A mail with long rambling sentances tends to be non urgent.
    (d) For fowarded / replied to mail – who forwarded it / to who / what did they add ? (see a,b, and c). Preview is invaluable If the addition was “FYI” and from the team member who signed up to obsurce lists and forward mails as a “keep alive beacon” it would go straight in the bin.

    1. eileenb Post author

      And if all else fails — delete it anyway. They’ll get back to you if it’s that important 🙂
      These tricks have certainly cut my email right down to a manageable level…

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