Practical analysis for investment professionals
21 August 2014

Poll: What Measures Are Effective in Managing Excessive E-mails?

Excessive e-mailing is a corporate epidemic. E-mails may seem deceptively inexpensive and useful, but they devour the most precious resources of modern businesses: staff time and concentration.

What measures are effective against excessive e-mailing? When we asked readers of the CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief, we found that there is no dominant method, but tight filters and rules and avoiding checking our own e-mail too often each secured about 30% of votes by 588 respondents.

Many professionals are challenged by excessive e-mails. Which method is most effective for you in managing your e-mails?

What Measures Are Effective Against Excessive E-mailing?

Our first line of defense is often filters and rules, saving us from e-mails that are obviously unwanted. But the challenge of excessive e-mailing has much to do with those sent by colleagues and external contacts. Filters and rules are less effective with such e-mails because it is often only after reading them that we can determine whether they were indeed unnecessary. What may work better is controlling our own behavior by avoiding checking our e-mail too often and writing as few e-mails as possible.

There are perhaps many other methods being used by our readers, as indicated by 16% of votes going to other options. For now, it seems that excessive e-mailing is a corporate epidemic that can be managed to varying degrees but, alas, cannot be overcome.

If you have found an effective method of dealing with excessive e-mailing that was not covered in this survey, please let us know by using the comments section below.

Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

About the Author(s)
Usman Hayat, CFA

Usman Hayat, CFA, writes about sustainable, responsible, and impact investing and Islamic finance. He is the lead author of "Environmental, Social, and Governance Issues in Investing: A Guide for Investment Professionals;" the literature review, "Islamic Finance: Ethics, Concepts, Practice;" and the research report "Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing and Islamic Finance: Similarities and Differences." He is interested in online learning and has directed three e-courses for CFA Institute: "ESG-100," "Islamic Finance Quiz," and "Residual Income Equity Valuation." The other topics he writes about are macroeconomics and behavioral finance. He has experience working in securities regulation and as an independent consultant. His qualifications include the CFA charter, the FRM designation, an MBA, and an MA in development economics. He has served as a content director at CFA Institute. He is a former executive director at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and former CEO of the Audit Oversight Board (Pakistan). His personal interests include reading and hiking.

2 thoughts on “Poll: What Measures Are Effective in Managing Excessive E-mails?”

  1. Mateo says:

    Interesting poll! I do struggle a lot with email overload and so do many of my colleagues. My company is trying to discourage employees from unnecessary e-mailing, we have had some success but we are also finding that it is a problem that can be managed but not overcome.

  2. Zic says:

    The method I’ve found to be most effective against email overload is to not send emails when I’ve written them but put them in the draft folder and send them ONLY after a few hours IF I still feel the need to send them. I’ve been surprised how many times I did’t have to send the emails I would have sent otherwise.

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