One of my biggest pet peeves are the number of grad students (and people in general) who seem unable to a) read their email b) comprehend their email and c) respond to their email. And all of these are important to do.
That’s not to say don’t develop some good skimming skills to get through unimportant emails quickly, but to be careful about where you apply those skills.
Emails that should never be skimmed:
– ones from your supervisor
– ones from a professor whose course you are currently a) taking or b) ta-ing
Emails that can be skimmed:
– dissertation announcements
You may think you receive a lot of email. But I’d bet that your volume looks pretty puny compared to your supervisors. So take the time to read their emails before asking a question. You look pretty stupid when you ask a question whose answer was in the email you’re replying too.
You can make everyones lives easier just by taking the time to read, comprehend and give a timely response.