by Ashley Smith, Scribe Contributor

On Sunday, we sprang into spring by setting our clocks ahead one hour. This first day or two of Daylight Saving Time can bring mixed emotions—distress for having lost an hour of sleep, yet also excitement for having gained an extra hour of daylight (which for those of us living in the Pacific Northwest is a much-anticipated event).

I don’t know about you, but when springtime rolls around, I’d rather not squander the extra daylight sitting in front of a computer, writing and checking email. And let’s face it, between the personal and business email we send and receive every day, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. So what can you do to keep your email burden light?

Getting to the point is, of course, the quickest way to communicate what you want; businesspeople usually welcome a short, simple note. But what about when you need to write a longer, more detailed email? By structuring the content in a way that makes it easier and clearer for the recipient to read, you decrease the chances of miscommunication, which means no extra time spent re-explaining.

Streamlining Strategies for Email

Below are a few simple streamlining strategies you can implement in your daily email communications. You’ll find that practicing them will decrease your computer time and increase time spent doing what you want—like enjoying spring.

1.  Stick to one topic. Cramming an email with many different topics can overwhelm the recipient, and your recipient’s long response can overwhelm you. If you have many topics to address, send multiple short emails with specific subject lines.

2.  Clearly state the topic or action item in the opening paragraph. This will ensure that the recipient knows exactly what to expect so you will not have to clarify later.

3.  Use subheadings and bullet points. Breaking up the content will make your message clearer and easier to read. It also makes it simple for recipients to find pertinent information later, which may keep them from requesting it from you again.

4.  Avoid long paragraphs. Shorter paragraphs make it easier for both you and the recipient to stay on topic.

5.  Separate paragraphs. Add a line of spacing between paragraphs so the email doesn’t look like one long chunk of text. This makes it easier for readers to transition from thought to thought and is another way to help you and the recipient find the information later.

We all appreciate receiving straightforward emails. Save your clients time spent reading long, confusing messages and yourself the time spent writing and following up. Instead, enjoy more daylight!