Addicted to email? Go cold turkey

It’s widely thought that email really is evil

Consuming up to one fifth of the working day. But is it a necessary evil?

Maybe not, says Matt Cutts, who is going cold turkey for March. Matt, famously, is head of web spam at Google and one suspects his lives in a world of continuous email bombardment.

That must be pretty soul destroying.

“Email continues to be my nemesis. It’s so hard to prioritize important things over the pelting of lots of emails that claim to be urgent.

Answering emails provides the illusion of progress, but it’s one of the least scalable ways to communicate.”

Matt Cutts, February 26, 2014

Whilst not wanting to draw parallels to the Matt, we too, have felt the continual drag of email and in 2012 we did something about it.

We had recently changed our permanent office and moved to completely virtualised working environment and knew we simply could deal with a huge uplift in the amount of email.

So bought into Podio to provide us with a sleeker internal communication process and evolved our use of Basecamp to remove the awful thread confusion that occurs with long, multi-party, emails.

It was a revelation and, along with killing meetings and commuting we got our productivity back.

Removing our dependence on email has been around pretty much since email started. It’s crummy way to communicate in today’s world when we have enterprise social, Zendesk, Twitter and lots of other great sharing and collaborative applications.

In fact, back in 2010 we espoused the death of email, probably more wishful thinking but the landscape has certainly changed. Now, around 90% of important business communication go via digital services for us and that’s liberating – our inboxes are empty and our lives uncluttered.

One of the important realisations is that responding to email is only helping one person. We live in a sharing world so why not share openly?

We recently had a really good case in point when a client had a support query related to using Mailchimp. mailchimp help being retweetedRather than simply providing an email answer, a short post was published which went on to be seen by nearly 20k people and was retweeted frequently over the following week. It was like sharing the love and no doubt the post will be viewed for quite some time to come.