Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Taming the Email Beast

Today most of us are displaying symptoms of being time starved. Feeling constantly tired, groaning at the thought of another meeting, and particularly groaning at our in-box which is the biggest time thief of all.
Today we’ve forgotten how emails revolutionised communication. Enabling faster responses and better services for our customers. Time is money so anything that can be done faster, more efficiently has to be a good thing. Initially it felt great to keep on top of emails in the evenings, weekends, holidays, making us feel in control.
20 years on and herein lies the paradox emails are now the beast to tame.  Bosses, peers, teams, customers, everyone expect immediate responses and if not chase with another email.

Email Overwhelm

Research indicates businesses lose US$650 billion p.a. due to unnecessary emails, with the average worker costing their employer an annual US$10,000 because of distractions such as emailing.  Constantly dipping in and out of emails increases distractions, reduces the ability to concentrate rendering a worker less effective. From a neuro-scientific view our brains aren’t wired to multi task, we perform better if focusing on 1 thing at a time.
Other detrimental effects include the inability to build rapport with our work colleagues; no one makes the time to talk with each other unless chasing an email!
Emails have created an addictive way of behaving – stressing out “in case I miss something” and so it calls for a radical change. Some organisations are doing just that and banning internal email.  What can you do at an individual level?
  • Try an email detox for 1 day of the week. Auto respond with you’re having an email detox and please call on number...
  • Raise the bar on the detox – do it for a week.
  • Set up a permanent auto responder that says you will only reply to external emails
If these leave you feeling cold turkey start with simple boundaries:
  • No emails between 10am – 4pm. Pay a forfeit if you break this rule to the company’s chosen charity.
  • When you’re at home switch off the mobile.
  • Set up a self-help group “12 steps email addiction recovery programme”
By taking control of emails you’ll gain extra time, it will directly reduce stress and increase how much you achieve each day and with that, increased job satisfaction.