I saw a very interesting question on David Patt’s Association Executive Management blog. How quickly should people answer E-mails?
This question is particularly interesting to me because, being huge supporters of small staff association leaders, we see this question come up a lot. It’s less about the E-mail, though, and more about the work-life balance for small staff association leaders. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when it comes to Email.
1) What time of day is it?
Would you expect anyone to answer your Email at 7am or 10pm? There are some times of day when it’s ok to have “you” or “family” time. Generally speaking unless you know there’s an emergency, 9a-6p are typical business hours.
2) What’s the nature of the message?
Was the incoming message urgent, or more of an idle question? Some things need to he handled ASAP, but chances are if it was that important there are other ways to get ahold of you.
3) Were you expecting it?
If you had previously discussed and known that there was important correspondence coming, it stands to reason that you’ll address it when it comes in. However if it’s a more random inquiry or comment it can probably wait.
4) Can it wait?
Sometimes it can’t. Sometimes, especially for small staff association leaders, concerns need to be addressed ASAP. Ask yourself what would happen if you moved answering that E-mail lower on your priority list.
5) Will you remember to answer if you don’t reply ASAP?
A common problem in this digital world is that since we’re so connected all the time, often if we don’t deal with E-mails as they come in they get buried under other incoming messages. Sometimes it’s worth it to fire off a quick reply rather than risk overlooking the issue entirely.
Small staff association leaders tend to become so absorbed in their jobs that they often forget that they need a good balance to keep their sanity. So before you immediately hit “reply” take a minute and consider if you REALLY need this minute for you!
If you still need a little more sanity, an AMS could be a good solution for you!