In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency, I am beginning a new personal email policy. I receive about 90-110 non-spam emails per weekday from different individuals that require some action. While many emails just need to be filed, more than half require a response. Of these, half are relatively quick one-liners and the other half require 5–10 minutes of my time to craft a response. This results in huge time investment each day. Given that I can’t delegate these responses to an army of administrative assistants, I’ve decided to try to re-take control of my schedule. I will now spend no more than 1 hour per day responding to email. I apologize in advance if I don’t respond to your email. If I have not responded within a week, it is unlikely you will receive a response. This does not mean I don’t value your communication, but I am simply overwhelmed, and this is my coping mechanism.
Emails that are 3 sentences or less are more likely to get a response.
Graduate Student Applicants
I do read and file your emails and refer back to them when we conduct our admissions (January of every year). This means that even if you do not receive a reply, I have noted your communication.
Prospective Volunteers, RA, & Thesis Students
If you don't receive an email, try checking in at a later time. It's really about your timing.
I hope this new email management policy will facilitate understanding among those who do not receive an immediate reply and foster more focused and creative research on my part.
(Please note this email policy was inspired by my collaborator, Prof. Louis Collins)