No more email guilt

BBC News: Live8 organiser Bob Geldof has revealed his contempt for e-mails, blaming them for tying up people’s time and stopping genuine action. Mr Geldof told a conference in London that e-mails “give a feeling of action, which is a mistake”.

Here’s the best bit:

[…] He told delegates that what workers achieve each day will be linked to the number of e-mails they ignore. He explained that the “doing part” of a job is proportionate to the amount of e-mails you do not answer. “E-mails get in the way of serious consideration of what you want to do,” Mr Geldof said.

Right on, Bob. No more guilt!

3 thoughts on “No more email guilt

  1. I agree that emails take up too much valuable time on a day-to-day basis, if you let them. I think it may have been Dale Wolf who commented on the whole “dealing with daily email” topic. His advice was to answer a certain number of them a day and give yourself a set time amount for doing so. This way you can stay relatively on top of your email while being, otherwise, productive too.
    I once thought it was a “snub” to ignore someone’s email. This was in my earlier days of college when I had way too much free time on my hands. Now that I am facing the real world, I realize that they are just as busy and understand. For example, I have a good friend who is living in London and working for an accounting firm. Her not-so-frequent emails typically begin with an apology. My response each time is that I understand that her job is to “crunch numbers,” not to answer email.
    The friends who are able to send and respond to frequent emails are the ones who have less demanding jobs and time to kill. When you think about it, that is exactly what it is, “killing time.”
    Thanks for the post. Those of us entering the work world need to be informed about the professional views regarding things of this matter.

  2. Those who are entering the work world also need to learn about being a team player. Of course each of us has to do time management and not get bogged down in e-mail – but you don’t do that by arbitrarily blowing off messages. That’s rude and selfish and it certainly isn’t professional.
    Reply to notes saying “Sorry, too busy” if you must. Reply to others saying “please don’t send me this stuff, I am too busy”. In a serious organization, most e-mail comes to you because people need you to know something or provide something. It is as much a part of your job as anything else. If you get too much crud, Check out Intel’s program for improving email use company-wide.

  3. Good comments, Jami. Tim’s right, though – ignoring email isn’t the best thing to do from purely a common courtesy point of view.
    Bob Geldof’s views (and my tongue-in-cheek comment) do reflect the frustrations of a lot of people that email is so all-consuming. Dealing with it is a major task for many people.
    Speaking for myself, I rarely just ignore email (well, clueless PR pitches aside); it’s getting to it all in a timely fashion is the big thing.

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