Too Much Email


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How much email is too much? Perhaps an even better question – how much of your daily email communication adds value?

Besides reciting the regular complaints about overflowing email boxes and added stress, this article, published in Canada's Maclean's Magazine, adds many important facts to the argument that we are too reliant on email communications. It sites several reasons for productivity losses due to email not the least of which is continuous distraction throughout the day. It also cites that managing email consumes more of people's time than working on real issues or tasks.

Jon Coleman, a Pfizer VP is featured in the article. He set a goal for his department of roughly 300 people to reduce their email volume by 25% over a year. His group then introduced ‘Freedom Six to Six' which sets a ban on email messages between 6pm and 6am and on weekends.

There's also some talk of the dreaded CC: email, but beyond this the focus is squarely on reducing the volume of email. No initiatives are noted that aim to improve the quality of messages sent. Establishing criteria to help assess the value in the content of notes may also help improve the amount of value in your inbox.

Here is a related post from the “Got Boondoggle” blog on clear communications.

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Luke, an auto industry engineering veteran, blogged here from 2005 to 2006.

  1. Anonymous says

    Wikis, Group Publishing, Online Projects with status updates, all of these are things that eliminate ton’s of status and update e-mails. Problem is most IT departments are so hide-bound they don’t want to implement these solutions.

  2. […] ideas and examples on how lean practices can be applied to every day tasks. The article and post on Too Much Email is an excellent example of easily identifiable waste that should be eliminated from daily routines. […]

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