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

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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 11

This week promises to be one of the shortest, and weirdest, weeks I have ever had in the last few years, as I’ll be enjoying three national bank holidays in a row, starting on Wednesday and finishing up on Friday, and will therefore be taking those days off! Like someone I know would say … W00t! But if this week is going to be a strange one, the same would have to apply to last week as well!

No, I haven’t forgotten. It is that time of the week already where I will be sharing with you my weekly report on how I am doing with my giving up e-mail campaign. I was just mentioning how much of a weird week it was, since I was out of work most of the time and without even noticing. Yes, that is right, you would remember how Monday was the day I was coming back from an amazing week in the US, attending the Web 2.0 and Beyond Summit in IBM Yorktown Heights and visiting NYC for a couple of days, then Tuesday & Wednesday were a couple of in between days as I was preparing my way to participate in a customer workshop on Friday in Zürich, then time to travel again on Thursday and return back on Saturday evening.

Quite an intensive week, indeed! But, unfortunately, and, like usual, life had other plans for me. My younger brother was taken into hospital for an operation to address a Trigeminal Neuralgia on Tuesday afternoon, to then get operated on Wednesday and wait for a couple of days before going back home again. I am now happy to report that he is doing just fine and although he was supposed to leave the hospital during the course of today, he decided to stay in one more night and will be leaving back home during the course of tomorrow. So, that is a piece of big news. And good ones, too!

Then on Wednesday evening, and, as I was preparing everything for my trip on Thursday morning to Zürich, I finally developed a terrible cold and a very very painful sore throat with which I could hardly say a word, nor swallow a thing (Not even any liquids!). So when I developed 39 C of fever I decided to cancel the whole trip as there was not going to be a single chance I would be flying in that state and decided to spend Thursday and Friday in bed, resting, and taking it easy, while I was getting rid of that nasty bug I got while I was in NYC!

Oh, and a quick interruption in here, I have got some AMAZING colleagues at work, because within minutes of me canceling the whole thing I had one specific good friend who came over to the rescue, grabbed all of the materials I had for the workshop, flew to Zurich for me, and did a GREAT job! And today his manager had a lovely e-mail coming from me, and he himself a lovely surprise along with it as well! There, that’s social networking doing its magic once again. This friend of mine working for IBM as well, obviously, is someone I mostly communicate with through various social software tools, since we both work in different projects, teams, business units, countries, you name it!

Anyway, so you can imagine how awful it must have been having to experience all of that in a single week. It started quite all right with me returning back from a pleasant trip across the pond, but then over time it developed into plenty of different issues that have just gotten fixed over the course of the weekend. Younger brother is doing fine and with no more pain any longer! My cold is completely gone and feel much better, thank you very much and today has been my first day back at work after being knocked down for those two days for the first time in 11 years! Yes, *that* bad!

But, as you can probably imagine, there is one single thing that doesn’t stop in this life, and that is the amount of e-mails you get on a daily basis, so I have still been keeping up with the weekly report and if last week was the one that has resulted in one of the busiest so far from the 11 weeks I have been following this experiment, this time around, this week, things have gone back to normal! Phew!

I knew it! I knew that last week was an exception due to some  special circumstances I mentioned back then and surely glad to confirm that although I was gone again, for most of the week, the amount of interactions through e-mail have gone down again. Here is the weekly screen shot with last week’s results:

37! Yes, that is right! 37 e-mails, coming from 60, the previous week! Talking about having a remarkable difference from one week to the other! Who would have thought about that, right? Well, there you have it. Funny enough, I mentioned in a couple of internal social software tools that I was offline sick and that it would take me a little while to respond back in those same social software tools and the response seems to have even reached my incoming e-mails! Which I think, not sure about you, was just terrific, because just this morning, it meant that I didn’t have any e-mails to process and could just get to work right away, even after a tough week last week.

You see? This is what I mean when I keep saying I will not give up any time soon on this experiment. On the contrary. I am even already investigating some alternatives for diverting a good chunk of the e-mails I am getting at the moment, and see if I can reduce that incoming e-mail load down to 20, or under 20 a week! Will keep you all posted on it as time goes by.

For the time being, I am just going to leave things as is, and already getting busy finalising those drafts I mentioned I would be putting together summarising my experiences while I was at the IBM Web 2.0 and Beyond Summit as well as my experiences in NYC! Thus stay tuned as they would be finally coming up shortly!

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