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Email templates to help you avoid drowning in your inbox

Let’s talk numbers. According to an Osterman Research report from March2014, the average employee deals with nearly  200 emails in a regular workday. The work involved in those emails amounts to an average of more than 160 minutes, each day!

But you’re probably not surprised. You feel the pressure every day in your own work. I feel it, too. So let’s see if we can do something to help.

I just came across this wonderful resource and thought I’d share it with you. Our friends at Mashable.

curated quite a few links and blog posts that offer email templates and scripts for some of the toughest tasks we deal with over email. Using these templates we may be able to shave off a few minutes from our daily email cleanup tasks.

Here are some highlights from the article:

Responding to a pointless email

You know how sometimes you get an email that has many words in it but doesn’t say much? Worse yet, you read and re-read and still don’t get what you’re supposed to do with it. Here’s a script to help you with an appropriate answer (originally published in

Thanks so much for your email, [name]. There’s a lot to think about here. In the interest of getting back to you promptly, could you help me understand exactly what you’d like me to assist with?

The laundry list

 Here’s another twist on a similar situation. You get a long laundry list of action items and to-dos. Where do you start? With asking for prioritization, like this (originally published in

Thanks so much for your email, [name]. I’ll get started on this [this week / as soon as the new product launches / after the conference]. In the interest of getting back to you promptly, could you help me prioritize the list below? Are any of the items nice-to-have? I expect it will take me [X days/hours] to pull this together, which may delay [other project]. Let me know if you’d like me to get started sooner.

How to say no, nicely

 I have a hard time saying “no”, especially to someone I like and/or highly value. But sometimes, it’s better to say no and get things done, than to say yes to everything and accomplish nothing. Here’s a script for how to say no, nicely (originally published in

Hey [person’s name],

Thanks for the details and clear instructions. Much appreciated.

Here’s what’s on my to-do list right now:

[Briefly list the top 3-5 projects you’re currently working on, to reiterate your value—and busyness.]

Based on our last conversation, it feels like the projects I just listed are top priority.

Shall I keep moving forward with those, and shelve [new project] for later? That would be my preference, because I’d love to ride the momentum and get those done first.

Or is [new project] my new top priority?

Thanks for clarifying.

Happy Tuesday!

[Your name here]

If you find these helpful, there are many more where they came from.Happy emailing!


About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Sr Marketing Communications Manager at Intermedia