Cutting the Volume of Email

I picked up the following quote from a post in Tim Ferris’ blog:

Jim — May 29, ’08 – 10:17 PM

“Another effect of reading and replying to e-mail frequently is that you don’t allow others responses to build up. Which means you may cover the same ground they do (costing you time you didn’t need to spend), or jumping into a thread early may prolong it (and sometimes lead to flamewars), again costing you time that either/both waiting to reply or waiting to read at all can reduce.

(Of course, replying sooner when you have the actual info can save time for everyone. It’s the jumping in with opinion rather than fact that is more likely to expand the time requirements, I think.)”

This is such an interesting email. He’s not saying something as simple as “the more email you reply to, the more you get.”  That doesn’t seem altogether true.

However, the more  trivial the email, and the more pure opinions are shared, and the less hard facts are used… now that creates a lot of email volleying back and forth, especially from people who just can’t resist the temptation to tell others their point of view.

I also like the idea of waiting until the dust settles.   I understand that Ronald Reagan did this — allowing opinions to be shared back and forth before weighing in.  This has a lot to do with timing a response for when it can have the greatest impact.

Or in other words, for a moment when it creates the least unnecessary new time demands.

This seems to be a worthy goal — to act in a way that creates the least number of new and unnecessary time demands.  I wonder what the impact of having mobile email has on expanding the amount of superfluous email that is sent around?