If you're buried under unanswered email, and find yourself constantly starting your replies with "Sorry for the delay," do what BuzzFeed reporter and creative miscreant Katie Notopoulos did: Answer your emails right away, with just a couple of words. She calls it "emailing like a CEO", the same phrase used in a 2001 New York Times piece about how high-tier executives tend to send terse, misspelled emails.
Photo by Olo Eletu
Notopoulos says she was perversely inspired by the Sony and Clinton email leaks, which exposed scads of these IM-like messages. She tried emulating the style for a week, and found it satisfying: "The high didn't wear off after that first day. It lasted all week." She applied it to her work email, and got more work done. She applied it to her personal email and liked it even more: "I am literally not joking when I say that I think it made me a better person!"
You can do this the way Katie did, using the one-line responses to finish off the conversation, or you can just use it to check in and buy yourself time to write a longer reply, guilt-free.
Since joining Lifehacker this May, I've found this strategy essential for dealing with a flood of PR emails. I even set up a Keyboard Maestro shortcut for the sentence "I'm going to pass, but thank you!" (When I'm feeling salty, I replace the ! with a .) Or try Inbox's Smart Reply, or Gmail Labs's canned responses. Anything that cuts your replies short. Next!