The medium is the message. – Marshall Macluhan
E-mail is cheap, both in time and in money. People can send it to an arbitrary number of people, lists, aliases… People can send it from their desktop, while commuting, while having dinner with their boss or their family.
So now, you receive, let’s say, some hundreds of mails per week. Some of this mails require an answer from you. Some of this mails are just to keep you informed. Some of them can wait, but some of them needs an answer right now.
But you need to open them, just to tell which is expected from you.
Only if we could have a look without needing to open them.
Yes, we can.
Just taking advantage of the subject of the message.
Rule#1: Always read the subject before answering. If the subject doesn’t relate anymore, adapt it to the new theme. Particularly if the subject has become just a bunch of chars like “Re:FWD: RE:RE:RE: Fwd Re:FWD: RE:RE:RE: Fwd: Yesterday’s meeting minutes”.
Rule#2: The FYI (for your information) mark is pretty useful. Why hiding it into the body? Just include the FYI in the subject.
Rule#3: If it’s a short message, don’t even use the body of the message. Just type the message on the subject and use “(eom)” (End of Message) to tell the recipients they don’t even need to open it.