Shrink Your Window to Reduce Time Spent Writing (and Reading) Emails

Email is expensive to write, and expensive to read.  It costs our organizations vast amounts of time (aka money) to communicate with email.  Worse, email is far less effective at communicating ideas, and is utterly useless in the human interaction department.

My advice is to avoid email whenever possible, and choose instead face-to-face communication, followed by phone or video calls, followed by just about anything other than email.

Finally, when we simply must use email, this simple hack helps us to spend less time writing emails, and helps the readers of our emails spend less time reading them:

  • Open your email program
  • Create a new email
  • Shrink the new email window to about half the size of your cell phone.  It’s okay to hold your cell phone up to the screen.  People won’t think you’re so silly when they start getting succinct emails from you.
  • Send an email.  Your email program will remember the size for next time.  (if it doesn’t, you may consider a different email program)

We tend to fill the space available to us, and unfortunately the default size of most email applications is larger than necessary.  By simply shrinking the available space, we naturally will try to write fewer words and make more effective use of the words we use.

This is great, because when our email gets read, there’s a good chance that it will be read on a screen about the size we typed it on (remember when you made your email window the size of your cell phone?).  With this simple little life hack, we’ve catered to our audience and saved two people time in the process.

Happy emailing.

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