Soul-crushing email causes stress and slows work. Oliver Double proposes some ways to cut the burden. Email-free Friday, anyone?
I spend up to four hours of my working day dealing with email, and I can’t help wondering whether it really is time well spent.
Email is probably the biggest source of stress in my life. It’s the treacle I have to wade through before getting to more important – and rewarding – aspects of my job. Email creates a sense of high responsibility and yet, at the same time, passivity. It’s always requests from other people; and because you can’t control when these requests will come, you can never plan your time. Email makes you react instead of just act. Email is a crusher of joy and job satisfaction, and – just like painting the Forth Bridge – it’s a job you can never complete. You clear your in-box, but still it keeps dripping back in. Drip, drip, drip…
I regularly rant to friends and colleagues about how much I hate email, and they all feel the same. Everybody hates it – but there’s nothing to be done about it, right?
Read full story as he goes on to identify ways that he thinks could help to improve the use of email, particularly ‘Email Free Friday’. Our university sometimes implements e-mail free days, but I think that’s blaming the tool for the way that people use it – in one way it’s a decent gimmick to get people thinking about how they are using email, but on the other hand, email is still regular tool (although I’d prefer Facebook/Twitter much of the time) and therefore needs to be used… appropriately!