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Keep it Brief. Life is not Email.

Ryan BetFiery Jan 24, 2017  ·  Updated May 19, 2021 Read time: 2 minute read
Keep it Brief. Life is Not Email.

Life is short. It's amazing you're even here. Why are you spending so much of your time writing email?

I used to write very detailed, book-length emails. I'd go into great detail to a client about why we did something a certain way, or some other thing. I’d be in email more than half the day. Now, years later, I'm certain most of that email content I labored over was never read. I thought I was doing the right thing, being so detailed and submissive, but in reality I was wasting everyone's time, including my own. I dislike writing email. I never check it before 9am (and am considering bumping that until noon), and try to get out of it as quickly as I can so I can get back to getting actual work done. To do that: I’ve got to be brief.

Very often you don’t have to say much at all to convey what you need to say. I find this especially true with follow-up marketing emails. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time, especially if you’re following up with a prospect every 1-2 weeks. All you need to do is give them a quick nudge.

Jon -

Has a decision been made about site direction?


Can be a lot more effective than:

Jon -

Hi, sorry to bother you again. I was curious if you knew whether or not the division manager had filled you in on the decision as to whether the website project was going to be a possibility or not? Thanks for letting me know when you have a moment.


Jon will not be offended at reading the first version. He might even be appreciative because I haven’t wasted his time with details that were likely understood in the first version. He is just as busy, if not busier than I am.

How Many Keystrokes Do You Have Left?

I discovered https://www.keysleft.com/ and this site really got me thinking about email communication and what a time-suck it can be. "You have a finite number of keystrokes left in your hands before you die.” Indeed. Go ahead and fill out the simple form there to determine how many keystrokes you have left in your life. Turns out I have about 79,487,979 keystrokes left. That is either 397,439 emails or 26 novels. The depressing thing is the number goes down as you watch it. I’m burning through keystrokes as I type this post.

UPDATE: As of May 2021, I now only have 53,222,399 keystrokes left. That's only 266,111 emails left.

I don't know the source of the following quote (it's not mine) but I think about it when I feel I'm wasting my time on a dead end - or an email:

What I do today is important because I am paying a day of my life for it. What I accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is high.

If you need to go into more detail than you can do in a quick email, schedule a call or a screenshare. You'll cover much more ground in less time, leaving you to spend your time on things that matter. I only have 17 novels worth of keystrokes left. I should go get started - only one of those has to be any good.

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