Is Email killing your vibe?
Jamal Cassim explains why we need to step away from the email and start reconnecting with people again
I have an email problem.
It’s probably not what you think.
You see, I’ve never had much time for Inbox Zero. I read pretty much everything, but unarchived messages don’t bother me (at one point I had 20,000 in my inbox and still slept fine – isn’t that what the search function is for?).
My problem is sending emails in the first place.
DESCENDING INTO BAD HABITS
I used to love the idea that I did business ‘face-to-face’; never dashing off a quick response or set of questions when a phone call or walk across the office or a cab ride could do.
But somehow I got lazy. Perhaps I let my shyer instincts get the better of me, or maybe as things got more frantic, it just felt quicker.
And almost imperceptibly, I felt myself powering through my inbox 'getting stuff done' more than really connecting with my teams and clients.
So around two months ago, I started an experiment, tracking every email I sent. It turns out my baseline was around 25 – 35 per day, depending on intensity.
From then on, I started keeping tabs on how many emails I sent, with the intention of gradually bringing the number down.
THE REWARD FOR CONNECTING
The basis for this was very much about efficiency: emails have a tendency to multiply. You know how it works...every email you send generates a few in return. That’s before the horror of trying to schedule a meeting.
But substituting emails for meetings and phone calls had an unexpected benefit. It turns out efficiency was just a bonus.
Rather than typing words into the ether (wondering: Are you in a good mood? A bad mood? In the office? Are you… a bot?), I was speaking to another human being.
Inevitably those brief exchanges covered wider ground, much more quickly, let us connect in a totally different way. And needless to say, people tend to find it harder to say "no" face to face.
Substituting email for conversation greatly added to how rewarding and energising my days felt.
EMAIL HAS ITS PLACE
Don’t get me wrong. Some broadcast or information-based (or arse-covering) communication is best done via email. Email marketing can be a great way for a small business to build its subscriber base.
Sometimes, instant messaging is a quick, minimally-intrusive way of pushing a request out.
But, should every email… really be an email?
For those that think this is obvious – well, power to you. I happen to sit in the strange borderland of Gen-X and Millennial; vain enough to love technology but insecure enough to worry about it.
But I do encourage those who, like me, have fallen onto lazy, easy habits to pay a little attention to their outbox. That’s the one you really want to clean up.
Are you leaving email behind to reconnect with people? Or, have you found a way to make email really work for you? Leave a comment below and let us know what works for you!