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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

The New Email Rule That Will Change Your Inbox Forever

There’s probably not a professional in America who doesn’t feel like email is taking over his or her life, and who hasn’t spent the better part of an hour crafting an important message. Sound familiar?

Well, we’re big fans of keeping emails short and productive, so we loved coming across a simple rule that can solve both of those issues: Commit to making every message five sentences long—or less.

Sure, you could just commit to writing less or making your emails shorter, but there’s something about having a true limit that ensures you really stick to your goal. There’s also a site that’s built to help: As it explains, “Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.”

Need some advice on keeping things brief, but still polite? Elliott Bell has some great tips. And if you’re still worried about how people will react to your brevity, the site has built-in text you can add on to your email signature to explain why your messages are so short (and—hint, hint—encourage them to keep things snappy, too).

We like the five-sentence rule (as author and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki explains, “Less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time”), but for an even bigger challenge, you could try sister sites or
might be getting a little crazy, but hey—try it and let us know how it goes!

Photo of email courtesy of Shutterstock.