I was just listening to the latest Mac power users, and they were talking about vacations; and in particular email in that context.
So, I though it was about time to write about email again.
I used to be one of those tools, hovering over my inbox all day long. Notifications on all of my devices. Updating the inbox every minute. We have all been there.
And then I read inbox zero.
I’ll start with what I have done, before I continue to some advice.
What I started doing was to care less and less about email. I don’t have email on all of my devices. It’s configured on my MacBook Air, and my iPhone. But not my iPad.
I check it now, and them. And I process everything, right there.
But, I don’t act on the different messages all the time. I answer what’s urgent, when I see it. And then I try to do a larger push, when I have the time. Or feel like it.
Everyone in my life, know that email isn’t the way to deal with urgent matters in my life. And I don’t have anyone in my work life that can demand my attention. They expect it to some degree, but not within hours, or sometimes, days.
I’m a full time student. With a few part time jobs.
Everyone knows that texts are better ways to get in contact with me.
You could say that I have been doing a worse and worse job, with dealing with email, on purpose. Because I can.
I don’t care about, or for email.
Let’s move on to some usable advice.
Figure out what you actually need to do, to deal with what your job requires. Then figure out what expectations are in practice.
Then start working out how to align the two. Some people actually need to look in their email all day long. Like support or sales people.
There have gone many years since I read the inbox zero posts, or watched the talks. But I do know one thing, email isn’t something I want to do.
I have to deal with it, but not all the time.
Like I said. Look at your job description and contract, see what kind of expectations there are. And then look at what you do and what others expect from you.
You can’t align the two in a day, it might take a long time. Start with something simple, and build on it.
This is what I have said every time it have gotten push back from not reading email all day long: do you want email or my job to be my main focus? And the same time, when people have complained about me not reading email when I’m off work: do you want to spy for over time, when I read email on my spare time?
Reasonable people, good colleges and good managers get it. They always wanted me to focus more on software development than on looking at my inbox all day. And they didn’t want to pay a fortune for me checking email every hour or so.
People that need your attention in a short amount of time, should have other tools to do it, than email. That’s the reason for going into your office, texting, calling and IM.