I recently got an email that had no fewer than eight significant topics in it. Yes, it was a long email. As a result of this email I was unable to remember and act on all the different topics. Sound like a big messy class/method to you? Sure it does.
I propose that people now send emails as they would write code: singly responsible. I don’t care if I get eight emails instead of one, it didn’t cost me anything. I can, however flag for follow up, organize or delete each as I see fit. Like a good method name the subject line should reveal the entire intent of the email. Like a method name, the urge to put “and”, “or”, and “plus” in the subject line should be a smell indicating that you have too many topics.
If your emails come in with more than one topic in them I’m likely to miss one item. Heck, I’m likely to delete the email when I’ve acted only on part of what you need me to. In that case, it’s tough shit on you I’m afraid. While it’s convenient for you to type it all up in one window, it’s easier for me to do the job you require of me if I have the separate.
With that, I’m going to start working on an intelligent Outlook filter for this problem.