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Management and Leadership in Nonprofits

Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


Emails – Do the Math

Oct 28, 2019
By: Tammy T. Jelinek
Emails – Do the Math

Emails – Do the Math  

Have you ever noticed how much time we spend on emails? 

I decided to do the math one day. If on average you get 80 emails a day and you spend three minutes reading and responding (which we know is low), that’s 240 minutes. That’s four hours. That’s half a workday. 

That is a lot of time spent reacting to someone else’s prompt. As leaders, how are you addressing this in your teams?

A few thoughts are email rules like these:

  • If the email string is more than three responses, get on a call.
  • If it is urgent, get on a call.
  • If it takes more than two paragraphs to explain, get on a call.

You get the drift. Sometimes a quick call can lead to less time in email h – e – double hockey sticks. Yep, I used a bad word.

Another option is to use the subject line like it is supposed to be used:

  • Add a timeline to it.
  • Add “FYI” (for your information) so someone knows they can read on their own time.
  • Add “response requested/need your input/client requested,” etc.

… Instead of just forwarding and forwarding and forwarding until the subject line makes no sense as to what is needed.

And let’s discuss reply all. It’s never a good option. Think before hitting reply all. Ask this one question: Who really needs to see my response to this? Then respond only to those who need to see it.

Do you have ideas you can share to make the world of email better for fellow leaders? If yes, please share!

Wishing you a great day and remember: Lead with legacy.


Tammy Jelinek has over 20 years of experience in working in and with fabulous organizations. This blog will explore what it’s like for her to lead as a woman, a GenXer and a person who truly wants to lead with legacy — meaning she wants to walk her talk. Tammy has presented training nationally across the United States, built businesses, coached amazing people and built a career in the squiggliest path known to man…or in this case, woman. She has a passion for being curious, helping people and making actions happen. 

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Tammy T. Jelinek, MBA
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