Ever get an email marked as important and then proceeded to wonder why it is so important?
I get them every now and again at work, but what amazes me is that people still send email and mark it as important. Do you really think that little red flag you put on it will automatically kick me into state of tunnel vision, where I stop until the issue in the email is resolved? Be honest, how many times have you received an important email asking you to complete a task and deferred the work to later rather than doing it now. It's not your fault. You know the task is important, but how important is it really? I think we can all agree that most of the time, it's not that important.
Email doesn't convey how important a task is because there is no tone in an email to indicate this. Also, we've lived with email so long now that we question every important email that comes into our inbox. How important is it really?If something is so important why waste the time on an email that may or may not get actioned? That little red flag called 'important' doesn't have any magical powers you know.
If you're about to send an email with a task that you think is important, then stop.
Discard the email and find the phone number of the person you wanted to send that important email to.Phone this person, discuss the task at hand. Provide that person with the all the necessary information that they need to complete the task.
Not only are you conveying how important the task is but you can also clarify any details that you might be asked about it.Next time you're mouse hovers over the important flag, decide whether the task is so important that it warrants a phone call. Most of the time it won't be that important, but when it is important, you'll be glad you conveyed the importance of the task yourself rather than relying on a dumb machine to do it for you.