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Reflections on No Email Day

Posted Thursday December 13th, 2012, 10:44 pm by

Did I miss not having any email yesterday?  What was the effect on my work-life balance and business?  Would there be chronic email overload the next day?

Normally I check my email first thing in the morning with a coffee in hand from one or other of the available devices (ipad or Mac).  However Wednesday was No Email Day.  Initially I felt at a loss.  That day,  I was hosting a guest at an important lunch event meeting and second there was some urgent work to finish.  Not checking my inbox gave me back an hour to be properly prepared.

During the day I did cheat a couple of times and ask our Office Manager to check my inbox.  She dealt with the really urgent messages which left me to focus on and complete the pressing client work.  Normally I check my emails before switching off as many of my clients are on different time zones.  However no one balked at a reply 24 hours later,  No contracts were lost, no clients deserted me. The plus, time to read a book and get an early night.

For me even as an email management guru the key lessons were:

  • Get on with the high priority tasks ahead of checking the inbox.
  • The alternatives such as phone, text and IM are still very effective but they do require  everyone to be working from the same principles of email best practice.
  • When you are busy ask someone else to check and filter your email and respond only to the really vital ones.
  • Switch off from the inbox at least one hour before going to bed.
  • About ninety minutes were reclaimed from my working day to devote to other tasks (social and business).
  • I was liberated from feeling that I should check my emails in the break during meetings.  Instead I could network more effectively and remain in the present.
  • Email overload was not an issue as most of the cc’d emails did not need a reply and the issues resolved themselves without my intervention.
  • I am probably just a little addicted to email and need to work a little harder at taking the medicine given to my clients.

Mesmo Consultancy’s recent studies show that email is here to stay for at least another five years.  The key to using email effectively is to take control and rule the inbox rather than let it distract and rule your day.  That may mean some email management training in the new year.

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