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Chris Anderson unveils Email Charter

Overflowing inboxes are wasting time and hurting productivity: Anderson wants to change the way we work

Email Charter
Tweet it, Like it and put it in your email signature

Chris Anderson, the man behind TED, wants to lighten the load on our inboxes by changing attitudes towards email. He has unveiled a set of usage guidelines designed to make our emailing more efficient.

The key idea behind Anderson's Email Charter is that the average time taken to respond to an email is greater than the time it took to create. He points out that it's possible to quite quickly put together an email that will take up a large chunk of several people's time. For example, adding cc's is quick to do, but every extra recipient multiplies the total response time.

The solution to email overload, says Anderson, is to agree new rules. The onus needs to be on the sender to write messages that are quick to process, which means only adding cc's that are absolutely necessary; writing concise, clear messages; avoiding open-ended questions and not using signatures that appear as attachments. We also shouldn't perceive a slow or short response as rude - with this small change in attitude we would enable each other to get through our mail quickly without worry of causing offence.

Fans of the charter are encouraged to add a link to their email signature.

The charter was shaped by hundreds of responses to Anderson's original blog post. The conversation continues at tedchris.posterous.com/email-charter-feedback and on the Facebook page.

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