Email. Shme-mail.

3/18/2010 12:08:00 AM
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 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?


  1. I wandered over here from grumbles...this is great!! I loved the part about throwing a "I actually did tell you that at this specific time on this specific date" at someone. So true! Good tips as well!

  2. Sister....I truly believe that Email is destroying the world and would happily happily live without it forever more. I prefer letters written and mailed, memos posted and that crazy thing...TALKING to each other. I think email has destroyed HUMAN business dealings in so many ways and makes people each other's minions in curt statements.

    One other tip in my opinion......if you weren't written to, that is if you are only a copy, DON'T RESPOND. It's not your the old days people understood CC to be just an FYI of an issue. Today CC;s write back with their version, thoughts, drama etc. STOP IT. They aren't talking with you...they are just keeping you updated.

    Sorry...300+ emails a day at times can make you C R A Z Y.

  3. I don't know if I can do it! I feel like I'm missing something important. Which is just stupid, I'm not missing anything that can't wait. I need to get over myself and get over email! Maybe I can start small ... turning off the notifiers to my email in the evenings ... see how that goes ... then progress to during it during the day.

    I was sick for two days and my Blackberry was by my bedside table the entire time! I was puking, then anwering work emails! Sick!

  4. OMG. If ONLY this were possible. *sign* This would never, never work at my job. However, when I'm working my other job, the one where I'm the boss, I definitely put the email away. :)

  5. I just turned all of my laptop email "notifications" off! OMG. We'll see how it goes!

  6. Wendy - for my blackberry I have it set that I don't get ANY notifications when I get a new email. The little envelope on the screen appears, but that's it. NO blinking, no red light flashing, no vibrating - BLECH. It changed my life when I did that.

  7. Penelope - WELCOME! So glad you stopped by! :)

  8. True Story - as a 29 year old Vice President (thank you very much) at a major investment bank, I was scolded by my boss because I turned off the "read" notification on my e-mail. She apparently NEEDED to know the exact moment I opened the mails she sent. This is one of the many reasons I don't miss my job

  9. Love it. I'm thinking about leaving my "I'm on maternity leave" notification on when I go back to work!


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