Have been ruthless with my own email management techniques by emptying my inbox over the last few days. All newsletters over a week old (opened and unopened) have been deleted. Any of specific interest have been moved to folders. Spent time too reducing the email overload in my sent items. Those which have to be retained have been filed either in the client or project folder (eg those with contractual implications). Even the e-christmas cards are now in a folder. For more ideas on putting your inbox on a diet see my latest Silicon.Com column ‘Five Ways to Start an Email Weight Loss Campaign over Christmas‘.
How serious is email overload? What is the cost of email overload? A recent survey by Silicon.com found that 24% of business users receive over 100 emails a day and 7% receive over 250. Can anyone seriously cope with this volume of email each day? Those with such a high volume of email traffic are suffering from either serious email overload or email addiction. We might like to think we need and can process all this information but I’d suggest there is a very high risk of missing some key emails buried in the blizzard.
For most of us 80% of the information we need comes from 20% of what we read. Which is the 20% of the emails you receive that you need?
Email overload carries a high cost to individuals and business. First, there is the shear waste of time and personal productivity – to see the cost use my Cost of Email Misuse calculator. Then there is the stress factor, unnecessary demands on the email system, long working hours to clear them all and high carbon footprint to process all the email traffic.
Email overload can be managed and reduce with some subtle but simple changes in email behavior such as learning to say ‘no’ and reducing the number of emails sent. For more ideas see my column next week on Silicon.Com.
More on how to deal with the email addiction later this week.