My inbox has gotten out of control. Email is so overused. Email etiquette no longer exist. Inbox zero is a never-ending pursuit. There must be a better means of communication. There are so many communication tools today. Stop using email for everything.
Email has been around since 1982; telephone since 1876; mail since 6th century BC. Advances in technology coincide with advances in society and communication. The hunter-gatherer age used smoke signals; the agricultural age used mail; the industrial age used telephone; the information age used email. And now the knowledge age has the vast array of social media communication tools. As we move from information to knowledge, communications are moving from information to conversation.
In this age of knowledge, we must start using a mix of all communication tools. We must move beyond the command and control business model to connect and collaborate; from return on investment to return on people. Before sending that next email, ask whether it is the best method of communication. Ask whether it is informational or conversational. If trying to start a conversation, don't send an email. Is this tactics or strategy? If it is anything more than tactical, don't send an email. How disruptive it is to the end user? If it's disruptive, schedule a meeting. Phone calls and drop-ins are the most disruptive. Keep them to a couple minutes and use them to schedule a longer call or meeting.
Experiment. Don't be afraid of trial and error. Depending on your team and your company, some methods will stick, some won't. You will never know until you try.