E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on First Three Weeks

As most of you folks out there may already know by now, specially if you had a chance to read the blog post I created about this topic about two weeks ago, this has been my third week without e-mail at work! Well, not entirely accurate, people still keep sending me e-mails and everything, but instead of me going ahead and replying to each and everyone of them, I don’t. I go out there into IBM’s various social computing spaces and provide the answers over there to them (And to the wider IBM as well as a result of that!), with the final outcome that they know from there onwards where they can go to get a much faster response from me. And e-mail is not it!

To all this, you may remember that I only apply a single exception, which is when people send me an e-mail that may well be of a very sensitive nature, i.e. confidential material, or a private one-on-one conversation. The rest is going out elsewhere… i.e. on to social software tools!

I haven’t been blogging much over here on my actual progress report on how I am doing, whereas in my corporate blog I have been sharing, at least, one or two blog posts a week, so I thought I would break that over here and start sharing with you folks my progress. At least, with a weekly blog post, so that over time, and, over the course of the next few months, you would be able to find out how things are going.

Earlier on this week, I got contacted via IM at work by a couple of folks who thought I would not be able to pull it off together for so long and that eventually I would be giving in to it. And to that my answer has been that today is the end of the third week and I am still going strong. When I decided to take the plunge and make this bold move, I knew one thing for sure: there is no way back! Ever onwards!

Thus, on to the third week, and here is a screen shot with the progress report:

As you would be able to see what it once was 30 to 45 e-mails a day, now has turned into 39 e-mails a week!! And this just on the third week of trying it out! Over time I am expecting to keep this number going lower and lower and in the end try to re-purpose how I use e-mail at work, i.e. basically what it was first initially intended for: a one on one conversation / communication instrument. For the rest bring on the open, public conversation into whatever IBM’s social computing tool we both may be sharing!!

And you know the weirdest part of it all? Well, you are not going to believe it, but subconsciously I am starting to apply the same principles to my external e-mail in how I handle every single incoming e-mail and so far it is going great! I am starting to see a reduction in there as well. Not as drastic, but still very relevant and noteworthy. We shall see how it evolves further.

One thing for sure, is that I am getting a kick out of it, because by bringing the conversation out in the open and collaboratively work with my social networks to get the job done, I feel like I am contributing ever so much more to the overall social computing space and I guess that for a social software evangelist that is not a bad thing … is it?

Have a good one, everyone!!

(Oh, and now that I am done with various deadlines I had to finish off this week, and seeing what a long weekend I have got ahead of me as I am starting to prepare to go to Zürich on Sunday, I shall be getting back to the blog posts where a couple of folks have been sharing some further comments and will keep adding further into the overall conversation. See you there!)

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  1. Hi Luis,

    Congrats on your email reduction success!!

    I was wondering if you could do a follow-up post explaining how you deal with incoming emails by responding through social media options.

    Can you categorize/generalize some of your incoming communications and then map them to different 2.0 tools?


  2. Luis,

    You are an absolute hero! I heartily applaud your principled stand. Well done for showing the rest of us the way.

    We have taken a similar approach to one particular part-time project. All communications will be via a Wiki or a (logged) IRC channel. One huge benefit is that all conversations are publically documented and retrievable.


  3. Hi Luis, interesting experiment, because many people complain about mails (too many). I wonder though- email is just a useful tool- why would you want to get rid of ALL mails??

    and do you have a few social network sites you visit daily? is that not replacing one with the other?

  4. Another question: Are you counting all emails, or are you not counting ‘pointer’ emails like automated alerts that you receive from sites when someone else updates something?

  5. Hello folks! Thanks ever so much for the kind feedback and for adding further up into the conversation! I have now taken the liberty of grabbing your comments and adding some further input in a follow up blog post. Hope you enjoy the coments and keep the conversation going!

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