I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip

Luis Suarez of I.B.M., With the help of social networking tools, he has cut down sharply on his daily e-mail. "I stopped using e-mail most of the time. I quickly realized that the more messages you answer, the more messages you generate in return. It becomes a vicious cycle. By trying hard to stop the cycle, I cut the number of e-mails that I receive by 80 percent in a single week."

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Your mileage may vary

On the other hand, as a telecommuter but even formerly as a full-time cubicle worker, I always hated phone calls and thrive on email. Between institutional filters on Outlook (at work before, at work now) and Gmail's own filters, spam hasn't been a problem. If I spend time on email, it's because it's the best way to handle many communications *in my circumstances*--which may not be the same as yours. I'd guess I "waste" five minutes a day coping with email that doesn't interest me--and that includes subscriptions to four or five lists.

As always, your mileage may vary. Which is why we wind up with many communications media.

E-mail is crap

Email is nothing but a farce in the workplace. I get e-mail from people I don't work with, don't interact with, and their e-mails have nothing to do with me, but they though the e-mail had something to do with everyone so they sent it to everyone in the library system. After all, we're all, at the drop of a hat:

  • Ready to give blood
  • Need to apply for supplemental insurance
  • Fawning over the county credit union
  • Dying for a crack at some other job
  • Need new information on a wellness programme few people ever use
  • Require up to date information on freeway problems, even in areas of the county we never go to
  • And on and on and on

And it's hard to set up kill filters for these because sometimes, you will need to get something from that person, so you can't block them. You can't kill based on subject or content, because that changes and hey, the inanity could be something new the next time around. All of those things above... ALL OF THEM, could go on some internal blog or website that I could check WHEN I WANTED TO. I spend at least an hour a day going through e-mail. I deal with the important stuff, delete the crap, and try and keep the damned inbox empty.

The empty inbox? That's not some GTD bullshit thing. That's just trying to keep the list of crap e-mail in a format that I can actually read it.

Oh yeah, and my voicemail is tied to my e-mail. So when I get a new voicemail, I get an e-mail in my inbox letting me know I have a voice mail. Just what I needed, more crap. I can't really respond to a voice mail on an e-mail, can I? Sometimes, rarely, I can. I can forward that message to someone who needs to deal with it. Most of the time, it's a patron. I can't reply to patron voicemail through e-mail. I have to call them back. So why is the voicemail in my inbox? It doesn't go there and only provides clutter and crap.

An hour a day, dealing with crap that a one to two minute phone call could have settled. Something needs to change.

Some books contain the machinery required to create and sustain universes. Tycho (Jerry Holkins) @ Penny Arcade

Yeah, HOW do you spend your communication hours?

I was talking to two freshman and the subject of t.v. came up and I asked them to confess how much they watched... "oh, 2 hours per week, tops." They were participating in a national innovation competition, so I didn't doubt them, but then later heard them talking about episodes of Battlestar and a couple of t.v. shows I didn't know and so I called them on it-- but they said I didn't ask how many shows they watch, just how many on t.v. (not only did they not count downloads to the computer or iPod, they didn't count DVDs, either, which they can watch on either the computer or t.v.). Ohhhh, so the question is, "how do you spend your video watching hours?" Same thing here... analogously. And, um, circuitously. :-)

Freed himself from Emails grip but

locked himself even more into other systems.
I bet he's still doing the same amount of work, just using different ways of doing things.
That's not the same thing. He's as much of a slave to multiple emails , oh I'm sorry 'messages' and 'blog posts' as he ever was via email.
He would also still have to deal with the spam that his email account would still recieve, let alone the same things he might get on his blog.

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