Email addicts offered 12-step detox
First up: admit you have a problem
A Pennsylvania "executive coach" is offering hopeless email addicts a 12-step detox programme "designed to tackle their obsession", Reuters reports.
Marsha Egan, who claims email "abuse" can cost US business millions in lost productivity, cites the chilling cases of "a golfer who checked his BlackBerry after every shot" and a client who "cannot walk by a computer - her own or anyone else's - without checking for messages".
Egan's approach is simple. First up, junkies need to "admit that email is managing you". She advises: "Let go of your need to check email every 10 minutes."
The recovery programme then advises patients to "commit to keeping your inbox empty", "establish regular times to review your email", and "deal immediately with any email that can be handled in two minutes or less but create a file for mails that will take longer".
Egan answered a call for help from insurance agent Michelle Grace, who receives 60 emails a day* and "uses [the] program to make it less time-consuming and less stressful". She now transfers emails automatically or manually into files for later consumption. Accordingly, she "spends less time hunting for them" and does not now feel the need to check her inbox every five minutes.
She's also advised colleagues not to email her if they need an urgent chinwag. She said: "I told them, 'If you need me urgently, pick up the phone'." ®
*We assume this figure excludes spam, otherwise Ms Grace can consider herself extremely fortunate.
I agree. 300 legit is no problem for me. I only have 6 "principle" accounts, but I'm on more than a few mailing lists.
Now spam. At least Eudora does a pretty good job of filtering that out.
Email Is Asynchronous
I don't understand where the problem is. Email is supposed to be completely asynchronous - you check it as often or as rarely as you like, without noticing delays (mostly) for the transfers. The longer you leave it, the more there'll be later. The inspired would use filters to help them manage large amounts of mail but this is only a disguise because you still have to check it in the end and it's a question of prioritisation. The uberkewl will implement his own push notification as by procmail/maildrop to chime a bell when new mail falls into the inbox as a hint that you might want to check mail now, and use email clients that actually follow standards to sort by threads.
Sixty mails a day? Ha! I'll have those if you'll manage my 350-400+/day spams, 300+/day listmail (including RSS feeds converted to mail messages)) and 30-40 new mails not counting uncaught spam and regular mailouts, thank you very much. And I'll take email over a phone call, any day. If you want to talk to me you can bloody well arrange it by email first. I HATE telephones! Just think of emails like letters, write formerly and nicely, and no txt spk pls.
It may be true that I sometimes feel anxious if I don't tend to my listmail too often, as I always like to catch up before the volume beckons me to blast the mail, but by and large I'm a happy email lover. I have always been. And I've never felt so compelled to check my mail as to give up other, often more enjoyable pursuits. You've just got to manage and pace yourself and use the tools available.
PS: there is no such thing as an empty inbox. I am, however, in negotiations to register the trademark. :-)
Hm... well at least I know about a cousin of mine that reads all of his emails ... including those pesky forwards with jokes, bad jokes, pr0n pics et. al.
I stopped reading all of those altogether when I started getting 10 or more of those daily, they were eating up my time... and I prefer to do something else with my time.
I used to have 200+ unread emails in my inbox before I took this approach ... currently I have no more than 10, and of those usually it is only 1 or 2 that really matter.
Oh, and that's weekly.
(Of course, my work email does get much more than that, but that's another story.)