Minimizing Email in Your Business Step 1: Creating an Email Understanding

Email is time poison. If you run a small business you may have tasted such poison. Over the last 15 years email has slowly become the gold standard of business communication. In the beginning it seemed efficient… then it consumed us. Now we have such bad habits that a simple item of communication takes hours to understand as you play virtual pingpong with your co-worker or client.

Some addicts misinterpret email for an instant messaging system. They live in a world where every individual is glaring at their monitor constantly refreshing their inbox waiting for your precious message to grace their inbox. “Where have you been? I emailed you 5 minutes ago!?!?!” Avoid that guy.


Because of addicts like this, it’s essential that you clearly communicate to your clients how to get in touch with you most effectively. Create a link to this in your email signature so that all will understand you are a recovering email addict. Here’s what our email understanding looks like.

Fiddler Online’s Email Understanding

If you need a response within 48 hours: EMAIL ME

My time is precious, so if you assume I am sitting in my inbox waiting for your email—you’re mistaken. I check my email once a day and will respond accordingly. I use tools like Inbox When Ready to make this easy. This is the preferred method to request updates to your website. Our whole team can see emails from clients, and we get them in our work queue right away. However, depending on how big that queue is, it can take a few business days before we get back to you. But if it’s urgent, and you say as much, someone will see it and we can work on it soon.

If you need a response within 24 hours: TEXT ME

Text messages is the only thing that alerts me on my phone (other than phone calls). So if it is something I need to handle that day. Send me a text. I’ll respond to you as soon as possible.

If you need a response within 2 hours: CALL ME

My phone is on me all day and everyday. If the matter at hand will be on your mind until it is resolved than give me a call. I hate phone tag, so I always answer if I am available. I’m of the perspective that the person in front of me is the most important at the time and just because you are calling me on a buzzing piece of plastic doesn’t give you priority over others. So I generally only won’t answer, if I’m talking with another person. But don’t worry, I’ll call back.

YOUR WORLD IS IN CRISIS!!!: CALL, Then Text, Then Email

If you still can’t seem to get ahold of me, call my wife, Jill: 801-891-3324. The more we follow these rules the more effective I will be and the happier my clients will be.

If you are addicted to email, and use Gmail/G Suite, I suggest you checkout InboxZero or Inbox When Ready (mentioned above).


  1. Justin Beller on 26 August 2015 at 11:50 AM

    Thank you for this post. I tend to follow a similar method of triage when it comes to my inbound communication. As busy as we get in this day and age, it is often difficult to direct folks to who communicate with people like us to follow rules like this, but it takes time as they get to know us better and how we work.

  2. Melanie Nichols on 28 October 2016 at 6:29 PM

    Just wish there was a like button! I have tried to break the email habit. Even putting it on my schedule twice a at specific times.. but something always brings me back to the a habit. I must be a email-holic. 🙂 Good post.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.