“Information overload is a symptom of our desire to not focus on what's important. It is a choice.” - Brian Solis
Ray Tomlinson originally invented email way back in 1971. While email didn’t become a standard until many years later, it’s ludicrous how email is such an issue for too many workers in 2018. Have you solved the email conundrum?
The core of the problem relates to volume. In 2014 market research firm The Radicati Group discovered that office workers receive and send an average of 121 emails a day. What’s more, this year email volume per person is expected to increase to 140 a day. Without an efficient approach to managing email, it’s little wonder email overload is a problem.
The conundrum relates to how we interact with email. Email is just a tool to support us to do our job rather than being the core activity we do at work. However, we get so many emails and so much important communication via email it’s easy to lose sight of how significant the interruption, distraction and disruption to performing our job can be. If we’re not careful the day can slip away from us.
The biggest mistake people make with email is they don’t align their approach to email with their natural inclination. For instance, for the person who likes to have everything organised then a disorganised approach to email won’t feel right. Whereas the person who isn’t detailed orientated won’t cope with applying a detailed email filing system.
There cannot be a disconnect between how an individual prefers to work and managing email. The 2 have to be in sync otherwise work methods won’t be scalable and sustainable. Three principles to help are:
Leverage your email system – Email programs such as Outlook are rich in functionality, however, you don’t need all of it. In fact, you don’t need much of it – just the productivity features. Understanding those can make a world of difference.
Reduce the noise – Get off unnecessary or unimportant lists. Unsubscribe from external spam and if you receive lots of CC emails then create a rule to receive those emails directly into a CC folder that can be read intermittently.
Have a simple approach – To storing, retrieving and managing email that supports you to work at your peak.
Workers suffer from email overwhelm when feeling as though they receive, send and process more emails than they can handle on a daily basis. Finetuning and aligning your approach to email to how you prefer to work will see email overwhelm reduced or even eliminated altogether.
What’s have you experienced? Please share your challenges and successes.