Email is Stupid

The video may be a bit offensive but I thought it was funny.

This is the first in my easier email series.

The easier you make something the more likely people will do it.  In many cases this works for the better.  iTunes made it really easy to buy music so more music is purchased.  Though sometimes it makes it easier to add clutter to the system.

When you are working, the goal is productivity so our tools need to increase our productivity.

Take email, it is so easy to type something and send.  It is so fast.  The problem is most people do not review what they are going to send.  When people used to write letters (I still do this with thank you letters, they mean more) they thought about their letter thoroughly before it was sent, because it was so time consuming to write and send.  Also, with electronic docuiments, including email, it is easy to have an infinite number (I bet some of you feel like you have infinate emails).

Many of you get umpteen emails every day and you have trouble keeping up. This it time wasting, it keeps you from focusing on a task and people think you are there at thier beck and call. I have some tips for you to make your life easier.

First, you need to only check your email once a day (in MS Outlook you can work offline most of the time and this will allow you to send emails out when you need).  This sounds scary but it is fear that makes you check your email all the time.  You are afraid that you will miss something or that your boss will send you something important (your boss doesn’t want you to waste time).  Remember the goal is productivity, not getting bogged down by unneeded distraction.  If it is important then they can call you.  This sets the expectation that you are not at everybody’s beck and call, especially over trivial topics so they you fewer emails.  If you are really scared about checking your email less often then you can check it two times per day and you can put this away message up (click here)from Tim Ferriss’s blog.

In the same vein as checking your email less, you need to process your email by batching it.  You need to designate a time to focus on making decisions on each message.  Do not go through your email throughout the day becasue it will distract you from more important work and do not do anything else when you set time to go through your email.  I usually go through mine at the end of the day (it is in my daily schedule).  To help you ignore incoming emails you need to turn off the email pop-ups and sounds.

Remember, email is a tool and it should treated like one.  You get it out to use it and put it up when you are through.  You should be in control of it, do not let it be in control of you.

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