We are crushed by email. Just look at the statistics:
– 17% of Americans create a new email address every six months
– 21% of email recipients report email as Spam, even if they know it isn’t
Email management can be intimidating, but there is a way to get a hold of your inbox. According to a recent study, we receive an average of 88 emails per day and send an average of 34. I checked my inbox and my numbers are higher than that, but I will attribute that to my industry.
Let’s do that math
88 emails received @ an average of 1 minute each to read and process = 88 minutes
34 emails sent @ an average time of 5 minutes to write, proof and send = 170 minutes
That’s a total of 258 minutes or 4.3 hours of your day. Now if you made a list of all you need to get done I’m sure almost 4.5 hours of email is nowhere on it.
How did we get here?
It’s no question we are sending and receiving too many emails. There have been entire app platforms built to solve this problem, yet it gets worse. Products like Slack, which we use and is very popular have not stemmed the tide. It’s not about the apps or the emails.
Its about us
This problem comes down to our culture.
– We are more concerned with responding quickly than solving or completing a process or request.
– We are more concerned with appearing busy than demonstrating results.
– Today’s gamified culture motivates us towards faster response times.
– Email creates for us an aura of productivity when in reality it is not.
We need to get a grip!
This problem is serious because the deluge of emails and our need to review and respond immediately at all hours is affecting our entire lives.
– Email “availability” is affecting your sleep.
– Email is the number one cause of work intruding on our personal lives since it can reach us anywhere.
– Email is reducing work satisfaction because it creates the illusion of responsibility and ownership without any of the benefits or positive results.
I can stop anytime I want
We need to stop using email as a catch-all for communication. Next time you are processing through that inbox as yourself the following questions:
– Do you need to respond to this email?
– If you need someone else to do something – should you ask via email?
– Is this time sensitive? There is no digital form of critical communication.
– Should I call this person directly and handle this now?
– Would a conference call be more efficient than a long email thread?
Lead by example
Help your team and your peers stop by leading by example. At Pragmatic Works, we are trying. We can’t convert the clients, but we’re doing better here. We have learned a few things that will help you break the email addiction.
– Set standards for the team’s communication and hold them accountable.
– Give feedback to your team when they handle things right and when you need the to be more mindful.
– Queue emails that go out after hours. There is no urgent email after hours. That should be a phone call. (See creating standards).
– I started this, and I’m now pushing my team to be more responsible and to hold me accountable
I think it’s working!
Since we’ve done this, our team knows to use slack for sharing content, chatting, project work threads, etc.. They help hold each other accountable for bad email practices! Yay! They know that we need them after hours, someone will call. We try to keep that to a minimum, so late night email checking has decreased. I’m learning too! I’m an email ninja, and I’ve put away my master skills since they are only hurting me. I’ve always been a fan of making phone calls to get things moving.
[bctt tweet=”I’ve always been a fan of making phone calls to get things moving. #Productivity “]
Let’s work together
My goal with this community is to help you by being the first guy through the door. I’ll scrape my knuckles, and you can take the credit. I’ve got so many things coming up soon. A new book, more subscriber-only content and some great free stuff! Make sure you’ve subscribed below to get my posts and other resources by email!
Dig deep with me..
I would like to see us all realize that each tool has its place, but when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail (or an “enail”) – I hope you appreciate that pun I had to beat autocorrect into submission to get it in here!
What is the one thing you would change about email to make it more useful? Tell me in the comments. See you out there!