I know I’m not alone.
I feel the comfort of knowing that I’m not alone, but what are we doing about it? There is so much information, so many requests, so many “Quick Questions” coming my way.
It’s out of control. There seem to be no rules. But it seems that so many people agree that meetings are bad, email is a horrible way of working, and slack is like that super annoying guy peering over the cubicle wall every 5 minutes to show you the latest tik-tok video.
So – here are some rules. It doesn’t matter if you are a customer, a vendor, someone important, or someone who thinks they aren’t important – these are the rules.
Rule #1: Never email on the Weekend
Email on the Weekend forces people to respond over the weekend. What’s better than that? Write the email and set a timer to send for 8 am on Monday. That way, you aren’t caught in an endless email chain – and there won’t be any resentment of having to work while at your kid’s football (soccer) game.
Rule #2: Slack is NOT a Work Management System
If your slack message is longer than two sentences OR the response required takes more than 1 minute, slack is not the answer. Please don’t use it.
Slack is often misused as a way of tracking work rather than just an easy way to communicate quickly. I love that slack can track conversations with individuals. However, Slack should come with an instruction book on when to use it. And when not to use it.
Rule #3: Meetings are not the enemy
People seem to hate meetings. And I know why – they are usually not-productive, wandering, and can often end in no clear direction or directive. However, meetings are critical to our new working era. Meetings, if led well, can facilitate communication, connection, and can cut through misunderstanding lost in circular emails, separate slack threads, and water cooler gossip. I tend to agree with this article that meetings can help build culture, solve issues, and can create accountability through connection.
If you want a slightly different perspective, I would suggest reading this article by Jason Fried (of Basecamp). Psst. He hates meetings.
If you do find that you want to set a torch to your calendar and kill all meetings, I would suggest reading this article on ways to make meetings more productive. Don’t worry; the article starts by saying that all meetings suck.
Rule #4: Don’t use Emails as NOT-Its
If you send someone an email with the intent to ask them to do something for you or help you, then set them up to be successful. It seems so obvious, but I can’t tell you how few people send me emails that don’t require me to ask obvious questions like, “What’s the name of the company we are talking about?” It seems so crazy to me, but if you (as the writer of the email) can include a link to a Salesforce record or whatever System of Record that you have access to – then you are working to save the email receiver’s time.
If you are attempting to help the reader, that means that you care about their time. If you are sending incomplete emails, which then leads to a “cat and mouse” back and forth with the facts, then you are merely trying to get something off of your plate and put it on someone else’s plate. AND THAT’S NOT COOL.
Just be cool and spend the extra 30 seconds to give the email recipient enough to be successful for you. I will promise to do that for you and if I don’t – you can send me this article.