Cutting back on email

There are a lot of people I know that are bombarded with email and for many of them it has become one of those dreaded daily chores. It is even worse when left unchecked for a period of time. I’ve heard a new term that aptly describes this phenomenon as "Email Jail".

Luis Suarez, a Social Software Evangelist from IBM, has been actively experimenting on "Giving up on Work e-mail". His status report for Week 4 makes for a very interesting read. I’ve been communicating with him through twitter on this subject and he still receives email but then actively encourages conversation through other means and tools.

About a year ago,  I wrote about email, in a blog entry titled "Email that’s what I use to talk to my Grandfather" inferring that the newer generations entering the workforce, or indeed currently working in it, expect more modern tools for communicating then just emails. Invariable, they use other tools to communicate to their friends and associates but revert to email to communicate to their older relatives. A year on I’ve seen a steady rise in the usage of sites like facebook from within the confines of the corporate work environment. Some organisations have embraced these off-premise communication means and some have blocked them. But for both, email is an issue. The availability of which now has a critical impact on daily operations.

We actively use Lotus Sametime for our daily work, Alex has written up a blog entry on his experiences with it. This enables us to minimise our email usage, to really offline communication (Offline Sametime would be good IBM) or to information that we need to send external to other organisations. Everybody I show Sametime to, is impressed with it as we can also share screens (take control of other screens), use white boards and quickly capture screen shots and snippets in a conversation to expand meaning.

Now we are also experimenting with a wiki server for public and offline "walled garden" communication and it is open to others, who register, to collaborate on content with us. More on this later in another blog entry, as I see this as being an ongoing exercise.

For us, we lose productivity if our Lotus Sametime services is not available, thus it would be more critical for us to have that facility operational than email.

So if you are stuck in "Email Jail" the first step is to acknowledge it and the second step is to find other means to communicate. Even picking the phone up can be an escape (we’d prefer to use a VOIP service like Skype over traditional  landlines).


3 thoughts on “Cutting back on email

  1. Hi Nick! Oh the trackback notifications one gets to receive over the course of the years. Apparently, and for whatever the reason, I just got a trackback ping from this blog post on my blog and thought that it was coming a little bit too late already, since you posted it nearly 4 years ago! Funny enough while I was reading through it I thought you made a mistake when you were mentioning 4 weeks, since it’s nearly 4 years now!! and too funny when I realised about the date and it was indeed back then after 4 weeks of starting the experiment! Hilarious the wonderful world of the Blogosphere! hehe

    Either way, thought I would let you know that I have just published the latest yearly progress report where I will be making the 4 years of living “A World Without Email” and which perhaps you, and your readers, may find it interesting … Here.

    Hope things are going all right with you and here’s to a wonderful new year 2012 with lots of good health and prosperity! 😀


    • Hi Luis, Happy New Year to you. I keep seeing your wonderful photos every now and then from Spain. I must visit there one day and maybe go cycling as well.

      Yes, I migrated my blog server to wordpress and after a little trouble managed to migrate all the posts over as well. So thats why you would of got a trackback notification 🙂

      Can’t believe its now 4 years on cutting back on email. That means for me now its about 4 years with Giving up on Microsoft for work :). Haven’t missed Microsoft software at all.

      Bought a new 15″ Mac Book Pro about 6 months ago to replace my old 17″ Mac Book Pro. Wanted something a little lighter to carry around. Hows yours going? You managed to get a Mac Book Air yet on the company?

  2. Hi Nick! Thanks! Yeah, you should come over and visit some time! You would be having a great time! Lots of lovely places to go cycling and enjoy the stunning scenery at the same time! The pictures I keep sharing don’t do enough justice to the beauty behind the various landscapes, I tell ya! 🙂

    Ohhh, that’s why I was getting the notification then and why I was wondering where it was coming from heh Good stuff! Glad you went to the Light side! 😀

    Congrats on being Microsoft-free all of this time! Huge achievement and I am surely glad you are not missing it a single bit! Me, neither, although I have been M$ clean now for over 5 years and still having a blast, for sure!

    Yes, indeed! I am now running on MacBook Air (13”) and working like a charm with all IBM software and connected to the network, both at the IBM office, when I travel, or through VPN and working beautifully! It’s made a huge difference on how light I travel nowadays, where I just take the MBAir or the iPad and off I go! hehe

    Either way, hope one day we will finally be able to meet F2F and catch up in the carbon about those and several other subjects! Thanks much, Nick, and speak soon!

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