I just said it, now I have to do it. I plan to reduce email down to <1% of my time/energy from March.
Email isn’t good or bad. It just is. It’s a channel.
For me, it’s not actually a huge frustrating beast. I don’t loathe it. In fact I quite like it – I can ping stuff off to people and then tick if off my to do list. Very satisfying.
But it’s not where the work is (thank you Lou Shackleton). In fact the 5 projects I work on right now are all communicating on Slack, FB and Whatsapp. Which means that what drops into my inbox is:
a) new stuff
b) often unsolicited
c) not directly with what I have committed to do with my time and energy
But because of my generation (not digital native, but have used email all my working life), I live in Mail. It’s the first and main thing that’s always open on my screen. I respond to incoming emails like a I am paid to lovingly answer each one individually and I get far more than I can respond to. It’s like 150 people a day have given me a little task to do that I haven’t asked for or said I’ll do. If I don’t, I’m unresponsive, inefficient or a bit rude. My judgment – not Actual Fact.
I have already put in place an explainer on my email signatures about how I manage email. But actually, it’s not enough.
So from 1st March, I’m moving out of email almost entirely. I will have a permanent out of office and will be asking people to call me or whatsapp me with anything urgent. I will scan handpick out emails that I do want – perhaps 2 or 3 times a week. But only in the same way I scan my junk folder now for false negatives. From 1st March, my whole inbox will be the junk folder.