When email becomes a two-headed monster

2headedQ: I think email is becoming a two-headed monster. It is vital but more and more people ignore them, don’t read fully etc. How can we move forward with accomplishing goals in this environment? Are there ideas you can offer regarding effective corporate communications and task handoffs?

David Allen’s answer: Essentially email is no different than paper or verbal communications, with the same weaknesses if things are unfocused, unclear, and/or unnecessary. Because of its accessibility e-mail has just magnified those problems when those standards in communication are allowed. The key is having a culture and relationships that have established (really) the best-practice standards, such as communicating on purpose, while respectful of others’ time and attention. Then it’s a lot easier to ensure that happens within all the media, including e-mail. If you don’t have those standards, I’ll bet it’s not just email that has those problems.

More resources on GTD & email:

What standards have you, your team or your organization agreed upon to make email more effective and efficient?