Five ways my team avoids email – Document of things to talk about

This is the second in a series of posts on how I lead my team in avoiding email.

2. Keep a working document of things to talk about

With each of my direct reports we share a Google Document called “Things to talk about Russ/Tony” (if Tony was the name of a direct report.)  The document has two sections.

A. From Russ

  • a list of things that I wish to discuss with the person I am responsible for overseeing

B. From Tony

  • a list of things my colleague wishes to discuss with me (his supervisor)

Each time we meet we work through a sub-section of the things on each person’s list.

Why I like this?

  • It reduces email because my reports have a clear way of bringing things to my attention without them getting buried in an inbox
  • It forces people to clarify which items are priority for my input
  • It means all the things I need to talk about with someone are centralized onto one list.
  • It means I don’t spend a lot of time sending emails that say “I need to talk to you about…”
  • If there isn’t a lot on the list, we simply don’t meet
  • It allows more frequent contact with reports that I need it with (very dynamic lists), and less with those who don’t
  • It implicitly creates an ongoing meeting agendas
  • If I am on the road, I can just call a report, they pull up the document of things to talk about and away we go

2 thoughts on “Five ways my team avoids email – Document of things to talk about

  1. Most excellent suggestion. Am implementing my own version now!


  2. Thanks for sharing these ideas. Looking forward to #3-5. Always looking for ways to make our meetings/lives more efficient and the first 2 ideas in this series have been great.


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