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30 Days Without Email

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 by Slaughter Development

Like almost every office worker, Katie Goodman was drowning in email. She decided to fight back by abandoning her inbox entirely for a single month.

Goodman tells her story in detail, starting with the motivation and the challenge:

I had come to hate e-mail, for all the reasons anyone does. It interrupts and overwhelms. It causes stress. It distracts the brain and encourages the fracturing of attention. Because it’s devoid of verbal tone and facial expression, it leads to miscommunication, confusion, and hurt feelings. All for the sake of making our lives “easier.”

In the end, I decided on a 30-day e-mail detox. No e-mail, in or out, for one month. Anyone can do a month, right?

The idea of completely avoiding email sounds refreshing, impossible and insane. We would all love to be freed from our electronic leashes, able to interact with others on reasonable timeframes and through appropriate mediums. One assumes that no modern business professional can operate without email. Goodman’s experiment, however, proves otherwise. Check out what happens when she returns from the four-week hiatus:

Nervously, fearing the worst, I go online. How many messages could there be before AOL simply stopped processing them? But the pile is shockingly light. For the first week of my absence, there were about 35 e-mails a day. Then it peters out to 10 or so a day (not including several daily offers for penile enhancement); since I wasn’t sending any mail, I wasn’t generating any communication. Several messages, from friends and co-workers, start out, “I know you’re not on e-mail, but…” And by the time I’m reading these, almost everything in them is irrelevant.

I missed nothing.

Like all technologies, email can be used for good or for evil, for productivity or as a way to waste time. Slaughter Development maintains a progressive policy on electronic messaging.  Many of us feel as much frustration about the size of our inboxes as we do the size of our waistlines. An organization filled with employees who are tired, flustered, and overworked from battling email is not likely to be very productive.

At Slaughter Development, we help organizations reclaim lost time through methodology engineering and workflow consulting. Reading and responding to email alone consumes about an hour a day, according to one study. Become more satisfied and more productive at your workplace through a minute-to-minute assessment of how time is spent and how information moves throughout your organization. Contact Slaughter Development today to arrange for a consultation.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

National “Avoid Your Email Day” - Today is quite special because it has officially become our nation’s “Avoid Your Email Day”.  So what are you waiting for? Close that inbox window and experience the freedom it brings! Read on »
Email Marketing and Productivity - Today’s message on The Methodology Blog: there’s no need to associate email marketing with SPAM. Read on »
Reading Employee Email - A few weeks ago, I was casually discussing the topic of corporate email privacy with another professional. Although the standard policy on the topic is fairly well-known, I was shocked to learn how his company managed individual email accounts. Read on »
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