Dodging the Email Tsunami

I’m always interested in articles that deal with managing email, since it seems to be the scourge of modern life. Staying on top of email is a daily struggle, and I’ve known a number of people who have “intentionally by accident” marked their entire inbox as “read” so that they could start fresh. That’s been a tempting thought to me a few times, but recently I managed to scramble to the top of my pile–I won’t even mention how many emails were sitting there unread. It took quite a few hours of effort, spread over many days, but my inbox is back under control.

I’m curious about one suggestion the article proposes, about keeping your email program off except for two scheduled times a day. I’ve heard of that strategy before, and never implemented it, since I thought it was not realistic. But I think perhaps it is, and I think I’m going to make myself a guinea pig to this method. I will set up some time in the morning and the afternoon–I’ll even book it in my calendar–and I will attend to whatever email comes at the allotted time, otherwise it waits.

Will it work? Who knows. I’ll find out. But I’m anticipating it being a challenge to colleagues and our collective reliance on email as an immediate communications tool. People often expect a response ASAP. Management sends a missive with immediate instructions, or alerts of one kind or another are distributed via email with the expectation that people are reading them within seconds. I’m curious about the consequences of being out of the loop for a few hours at a time. It may turn out to be minor, but I could imagine for some people it might be more dramatic. I will follow up with my results.


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