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

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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Reports from Week 31 through to Week 35

After a superb business trip to Mechelen, Belgium, last week where not only did I have a great time, but also learned quite a bit!, it is now time to get back into the swing of things at work. Well, not really! Friday was the day of a massive catchup with everything and, like I was mentioning in Twitter, it was the first time in over five years that I spent it talking more on the phone than through online interactions! Goodness! I almost forgot how fast & easy it is to catch up while you talk, as opposed to when you write! I should be doing that much more often, for sure!

Anyway, you would expect I would be having time to get things back in order with my regular blogging and other work related activities, right? Humm, not likely! I am already preparing, during the course of today, for another business trip I will be doing this week, once again. Leaving tomorrow and going to Madrid to participate in a very special event which I will be blogging about shortly. Stay tuned, because it is going to be quite an interesting one!

For now, though, I think I will go with this blog post where I will try to catch up with those weekly progress reports I have been sharing all along since I started giving up on e-mail at work and which I have been neglecting for a little bit due to the holidays to both Barcelona and London, then the business trip to Mechelen and a week here and there. So I thought I share with you folks what has happened during those weeks.

To start with, I will not be commenting on other interesting links I have bumped into or the conference events I have been to during all of this time, since I will be blogging about them separately and I would also want to keep this blog post on the short side. So, what I will do, without much further ado is to share with you folks the actual progress reports and I will comment, right afterwards, with a couple of thoughts for each of them, so you can get a glimpse of what’s been happening all around. Thus, let’s get started!

As you would be able to see, lots of things have happened during the last few weeks, while I have been preparing for my vacation, during my vacation, on the first business trip after the vacation and so forth! To get things going, it looks like I hit my new challenge twice in that period of time! Yes, that is right! On my new challenge, I proposed to keep that incoming number of e-mails even lower, 20 or less! And to my amazement, since I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, there have been two times that I have done it, as you can see on those weekly reports. One with a hit of 20 and another one, the one I am incredibly excited about, which is 13 e-mails! Yes, that’s right! 13 e-mails in a single week!!! That’s exactly what I am looking forward to with this second part of the challenge of giving up on e-mail at work!

Too bad that after I came back, and while I was in Mechelen, Belgium, that count went sky high, with one of the highest from the entire nine months I have been doing this! But not to worry, it is all an exception, from what I can see. That really high count of e-mails was eventually due to three different factors:

InnovationJam 2008: I managed to put together and share a number of different ideas, despite the poor conditions regarding my connectivity during that time, and a couple of them picked up a nice momentum, which developed in several private 1:1 conversations, too! I am trying to put together some of the thoughts exchanged throughout the Jam conversations so that you folks can have a look at some of the amazing stuff that happened throughout!

Calendaring & Scheduling: This is something I have blogged about already in the past, and it is probably the number #1 issue that still keeps me making use of e-mail at odd weeks, like week 35, for instance. Two days in that week registered really high peaks of incoming e-mails, because I was discussing with a few folks the final logistics for a couple of events I will be attending from here till end of the year! If calendaring and scheduling is an issue, imagine it even worse when people send you e-mail after e-mail to finalise details that could have been done in a very simple, yet very effective manner: a phone call! (Or through Activities!). I need to work more on this one, before it kills me. Or, worse, something else that is starting to take some shape and which would need some further thinking before I share it across. We shall see.

1:1 conversations: As more and more folks realise how I still use e-mail for 1:1 conversations of a confidential / sensitive nature, sometimes I do get a few of these, yes!, they come in batches!, of folks wanting to detail stuff in a personal private conversation. And like I have been saying all along, more than happy to accommodate those coming through e-mail. The rest will be going OUTSIDE the Inbox!

Thus there you go. In a single blog post the weekly progress reports from the five weeks I haven’t been able to detail before, due to vacation preparations, the time away on holidays, and the business trip to Mechelen. Oh, and there was something else that sparked two very nasty blog posts while I was on the road, but, not to worry, I will not be sharing them over here. Far too negative! I will be putting together a rather softer one on the topic, which has surely influenced as well some of the high numbers on concrete days. Here is a hint on what it will be about: connectivity or, better said, the lack of!

But that will be the subject for another blog post. For now, time to leave things here. Hope you enjoy the massive catch up on all of those progress reports from the last few weeks and off to the next blog post that will contain a lovely surprise for those faithful readers that despite my somewhat irregular blogging activities, they still keep up with this blog eventually. Hang in there, lovely surprise coming up for you shortly!

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