Email. There’s no escape from it is there!
The chances are if you are reading this, then you either work for yourself or in a small business. Or you work for a bigger company and have emails coming at you from all angles. But whatever your situation, you are here because you have had enough with emails.
Once upon a time, and it wasn’t really that so long ago really, we didn’t have email. What did we do?
- We picked up the phone.Call me crazy, but let’s all try that. I bet there’s a huge number of you out there paying for a load of minutes each month and you are hardly making a dent in your allowance. Now who’s the crazy one?
- We got up and walked to the person in the next office. Not feasible for those of us who work for ourselves, but if you are in an office and need a quick yes or no type reply, why are you emailing?
I think we all have a “fear” of interrupting people and so we email rather than speak, but if the first thing you say is “Hey, is now a good time to talk” then you’ll you know if it is or if they are in the middle of something that needs them to focus. And I’ll let you in on a secret. If I’m doing something that is urgent and/or requires my utmost concentration, then I won’t pick up the phone. I have voice mail – use it. Or text me. Again, I bet you are paying for a ton of texts – use them!
More complex messages do need email. There’s no escaping that. But that’s not the point of this article – I’ll confess now I’ve gone off on a tangent in my battle to cut down on the email.
When are you sending email?
With the boundaries of the end the of the working day and the working week being increasingly eroded, it’s tempting to send emails at all hours. But here’s the thing – just because you are working at the weekend doesn’t mean that I am. But because I get my email on my phone, if you send me something then there it is, calling out to be read.
Now, yes it’s my choice to have my email on my phone. But we all do. We are out and about a lot and there are lots of time when we need to read email out of the office. (Although in the time before smart phones and email, we all coped. The Sun still rose and the Earth still turned.)
I could have two phones. One for work and one personal one. But do I really want to do that? Not really.
I’m slowing training myself not to look at my work inbox on my phone after hours. But it’s difficult. And yet it shouldn’t be. It’s not as if it’s a matter of life or death if I leave it until Monday to read an email sent Saturday morning.
It just takes a lot of discipline.
But wouldn’t it be better, if the person sending the email on Saturday morning asked themselves if it really needed to be sent then?
I get that something might be on their mind and they need to put it down in an email while it’s still fresh. Just don’t hit the send button!
Save it as a draft and stick a post-it note on your desk to remind you to send it on Monday.
Or schedule it! This isn’t an exhaustive list of methods. (And I’d love to hear if you have other methods)
But most of all, what I’m asking is for some consideration. Work at the weekend if you must. That’s great if it works for you. Just remember, not everyone does. Even if you say this isn’t urgent, if it’s a problem we need to solve then it’s will be nagging at the back of our minds. And that’s our downtime eroded.