Perhaps like me you prefer to something while you think of it or, have the time to do so. The time at which you write an email may not be the best time to send that email. For example, I recently met a Deputy Vice Chancellor who told me that at her university there was a ban on sending emails between 19:00 and 07:00; what a sensible measure to encourage staff to move towards a better work life balance!
So, how to write an email at a convenient time for yourself (which might be any time of the day or evening) and ensure that it is sent at a convenient time to the recipient?
A way of dealing with this, might be to draft the email and leave it in the drafts folder. You may even set a calender or task alarm to remind you to send it at the correct time. However, another way which may be more convenient is to effectively schedule the email to go at a particular time. Hence the title… send email later. Outlook has the feature called delay delivery, to enable an email to be scheduled for delivery at a particular date or time. This might be useful to send yourself a reminder, or perhaps a reminder to another person or group of people.
Screenshots are below, however, the computer from which the email is sent from needs to be awake and connected to the Internet at the scheduled time. Should the computer be asleep or unable to connect to the Internet, the email will be delivered as soon as these two conditions are met, unless they occur after the parameter set for expires after field. In my example this field is left unchecked.
Click on images to view at full resolution.
Delaying the delivery of email may also have a positive impact of modelling not being immediately available to respond to emails. How often have you received an email only to have the sender show up at your desk a minute or so later to ask if you have read the email they just sent you? If an instant or urgent response is required in real time then perhaps using IM (instant Messenger) SMS or phone is more appropriate. Of course we live in an instant, full on, never off, demand led culture. I would however, argue it is not a reasonable expectation that you will be able to have responded immediately to every request sent via email, nor do you have to set an expectation for yourself to do so. Controversial perhaps but, delaying or replying to email after a small delay can be a good self discipline and help to provide a reality check on expectations when used sparingly and with discernment.