"Email is not Broken, We Are" (LifeHacker)

In “Email is not Broken, We Are”, Joshua Lyman writes that there are many articles about how email is broken and propose making faster, better email programs. He thinks the real problem is we are overwhelmed with it. We use it wrong. It’s silly that we allow email programs to check for mail every five minutes. It’s killing productivity. Segmenting email usage to 2, 4, 8 time a day has huge benefits. Some suggested solutions: stop checking constantly and disable desktop alerts. Set up a “social contract” with your coworkers. It's hard not to check email (as well as twitter, text messages, etc, etc) constantly. We are wired with that Pavlovian response, our brains get that little reward of endorphans, but it's really causing problems.

When I’ve broken up email usage to a handful of times a day, and turn off instant messaging, I notice a big difference in productivity. You definitely need to give coworkers a heads up when you start doing this. At one office I worked at, everyone was forced to use instant messaging. When someone messaged you, if you didn’t answer within a few seconds, they were at your desk. This caused constant distractions all day long. It was almost impossible to focus.

What are your thoughts on this?

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely cannot focus when interrupted. I have to turn off all distractions or I will get nothing done. I read somewhere that it takes over 15 minutes to get back into a groove once concentration is broken, and if you're broken 5 minutes into a task, how could anyone accomplish anything? I agree that people won't understand so it's best to prepare them by informing of your work style.