Michael Hyatt writes:
The truth is, you are building your reputationyour brandone response at a time. People are shaping their view of you by how you respond to them. If you are slow, they assume you are incompetent and over your head. If you respond quickly, they assume you are competent and on top of your work. Their perception, whether you realize it or not, will determine how fast your career advances and how high you go. You cant afford to be unresponsive. It is a career-killer.
My basic rule is this: respond immediately unless there is a good reason to wait. Obviously, this isnt always possible, especially since I spend so much time in meetings. Nevertheless, I rarely let messages sit longer than a day. Twenty-four hours is the outside edge. If you cant respond now, then at least acknowledge that you have received the message: I received your message. I dont have time to give it the attention it deserves right now, but you can expect to hear from me before the end of the day tomorrow.
The great thing about being responsive is that it will quickly differentiate you from your peers. People love doing business with responsive people. Nothing will advance your career faster than this.