You can be a lot more productive when you have to spend less time explaining things over email. By setting a limit on how many times you’re willing to discuss something over email, you can reduce your workload and avoid any miscommunication.
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Emails have the potential to turn into long, drawn-out message chains that fill up your inbox and eat away at precious working hours. Phil Simon, the author of Message Not Received, recommends you invoke the “three-email rule”:
Put as succinctly as possible, after three messages, it’s time to talk. In my email signature, you’ll find that very rule… I abide by a three-email rule. After three, we talk.
By limiting an email conversation to three emails — and informing the other party of it in your signature — it will force you and the other party to be as clear as possible in your emails. It will also let you know when it’s time to pick up a phone or walk to their office to clear things up. Simon does note, however, that it can be used as more of a guideline too, since some issues do require a little more back and forth. Still, this rule can help keep your inbox numbers down and help avoid any miscommunication in the future.
The ‘3-email rule’ is the key to solving the biggest problem with your inbox [Business Insider]