Before replying to an email, practice the 5-Minute rule

Chris Matyszczyk advises clients about advertising and marketing through his company Howard Raucous. He wrote an Email 5-Minute Rule for INC. Magazine that we reproduce here:

“You don’t think about it, do you?

You just do it.

Technology has driven us into becoming pulsating puppies of Pavlov.

So when technology demands your attention, you give it without thinking. Because that’s just who — or perhaps what — you’ve become.

Take emails.

An email is like a ringing of the bell. When we hear that bell, we our fingers do their version of salivating and off they go. And off the email goes too.


We do the same with texts. So, when we’re at work, we do exactly the same with emails.

We see words. We have to reply to those words.

Within minutes or even seconds, our inner voice mumbles: “Oh, wait. I didn’t really want to say that.”

Here, then, is a small trick that I have personally found helpful. It might work for you.

Never reply straight away. Never.

No matter how urgent it sounds, no matter how piercing the red color on the exclamation point that accompanies the email.

Too many times, I’ve immediately replied and too many times it either wasn’t what I wanted to say, wasn’t phrased in the way I wanted to say it or wasn’t something that was received well at all.

Here’s what to do, then.

Give yourself a rule. I know that you’re never too good at sticking to rules, but please try.

Tell yourself you’ll always pause for five minutes before you respond to a work email or a work text.

Just don’t reply.

Go to the restroom (and don’t look at your phone). Play online poker or fantasy sports. Do some online shopping. Stare into space. Anything but reply to that email.

I feel sure this will improve your sense of well-being and your feelings of karma-driven harmony.

You might even find it remarkable how much more pleasant you’ll find communication via technology.

There is, you see, one hidden benefit to this trick.

I only realized it once I started practicing this method.

After five minutes, you’ll realize that half the emails you get — far more than half, I suspect — aren’t worth replying to at all”.


Source: Before Replying To An Email, Practice The 5-Minute Rule

Tags: emails|organization|work

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