Email overload is not caused only by people sending too many emails… it is also exacerbated by the fact that they don’t know how to write a sensible, concise, actionable message that can be processed rapidly. This post examines the implications – notably the need for a structured process of training and certification to make sure nobody goes near the “Reply All” button before knowing what they are doing.
Practical advice on getting in control of the Inbox.
How come you don’t need to take training before even being allowed near the Reply All button? Other skills that cvan do harm – driving, medical practice, practicing law – involve study before you can even apply for a permit: there is driver’s education, medical school, law school… but email doesn’t have so much as a short course.
This is a big problem. There is every reason for organizations to mandate “Email Ed” classes for all employees, like it does for safety training and other critical skills.
This article promotes the following strategy: inbox infinity. “Adopting inbox infinity means accepting the fact that there will be an endless, growing amount of email in your inbox every day, most of which you will never address or even see. It’s about letting email messages wash over you, responding to the ones you can, but ignoring most.”
Information Overload is a common topic of discussions in the press and literature. It is also the subject of research, tools, and techniques. But there is also an important but related problem: Decision Overload.
Information Overload occurs when the information available exceeds the processing abilities of the individual or can be processed in the time available.
By contrast, Decision Overload occurs when the vast amount of available information makes it difficult to decide upon the correct course of action(s).
David M. Levy, who has lived his life between the “fast world” of high tech and the “slow world” of contemplation, offers a welcome guide to being more relaxed, attentive, and emotionally balanced, and more effective, while online.
In a series of exercises carefully designed to help readers observe and reflect on their own use, Levy has readers watch themselves closely while emailing and while multitasking, and also to experiment with unplugging for a specified period. Never prescriptive, the book opens up new avenues for self-inquiry and will allow readers—in the workplace, in the classroom, and in the privacy of their homes—to make meaningful and powerful changes.
The root cause of stress and work-related exhaustion does not come from what is happening in our external environment, but how we respond to it from our internal landscape; more specifically – from how our mind reacts to what we are experiencing and the extent to which we are able to effectively manage our mind, or not.