I’ve said it before: work email is merely a game of hot potato. “Quick, press send! HA! That task belongs to HER now!” (See original post from 2-11-08 here. I used a fun image. It’s a potato wearing a bikini.)
It’s a long and winding “paper trail” that takes far too much time out of our day. I mean, let’s face it, we’re sending email merely to cover ourselves in the event that someone says, “You never told me that.”
“Um, yes I did. I sent you an email about that very subject on 2/11/10 at 8:49 a.m. So there.“
I stumbled across this little gem in the March edition of Entrepreneur, “E-mail is making you stupid.”
Subhead: “The research is overwhelming. Constant e-mail interruptions make you less productive, less creative and–if you’re e-mailing when you’re doing something else–just plain dumb. “
The gist? We shouldn’t be working out of our email all.day.long. Nope, it’s far too disruptive, distracting and annoying. It affects our attention spans and our stress-levels.
Can I get an amen?
Read these tips here. As always, I’ve highlighted the parts I enjoy:
Climbing Out of the Inbox
E-mail multiplies like rabbits, each new message generating more and more replies. Want fewer distractions? Send fewer e-mails. Here are some helpful rules.
• Turn off all visual and sound alerts that announce new mail. [I’m going to start of slow with this one. Sound off. Bouncing “Entourage E”still on. For now.]
• Check e-mail two to four times a day at designated times and never more often than every 45 minutes. [Wow. This will be hard.]
• Don’t let e-mail be the default communication device. Communicating by phone or face-to-face saves time and builds relationships. [What?! TALK to my co-workers?]
• Respond immediately only to urgent issues. Just because a message can be delivered instantly does not mean you must reply instantly. [AMEN!]
• Severely restrict use of the reply-all function. [I couldn’t agree with this more.]
• Put “no reply necessary” in the subject line when you can. No one knows when an e-conversation is over without an explicit signal.
• Resist your reply reflex. Don’t send e-mails that say “Got it” or “Thanks.”[Duh]
• Use automatic out-of-office messages to carve out focused work time, such as: “I’m on deadline with a project and will be back online after 4 p.m.”[Like this!]
So… what do you think? Are you on board? Would your boss/co-workers be on board, too?