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 46 (Living without Email – One Man’s Story. Are you Next?)

Gran Canaria - Degollada De Las Yeguas

This is probably going to be my last blog post of this year 2008; a year that will mark a before and an after as far as my own adoption of social software is concerned, both inside and outside of the company I work for: IBM. A year that will be very difficult to forget for so many things! A year that nearly 12 months ago I had no idea it would develop into what it has finally turned out to be!

Far too many things happened to talk about them all over here in just a single entry and while everyone gets busy with their summary of this year and their predictions for 2009, I am, however, going to save you all of that hassle and just sum it all up with a single highlight on what 2008 has been and with what 2009 will be; at least, for me:

A World Without Email!

Yes, that’s right! A world without email! But I am not going to spoil things further. At least, not just yet. Most of you folks who have been following this blog already have got an idea of what I have been doing for most of this year on the topic of Thinking Outside the Inbox, while giving up e-mail at work, but what you may not know is that next year I will be back for more. But with a twist! A slight change of plans that I am hoping to share with everyone shortly on what I would be doing next …

But I am not going to reveal it just yet. You will have to wait for another couple of days. However, for today, and for this last blog post of the year, I thought I would share with you the last weekly progress report before end of the year (There will be another one for this current week we are going through next week, by the way!), which, on its own, will mark a huge massive milestone on what I have been doing for the last eleven and a half months! And you will see why by checking out the report itself:

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 46

Yes, indeed! As you will be able to see from the report, I have hit a new low of incoming e-mails in a single week. For week 46, i.e. last week, I have received a total number of 3 e-mails! You are reading it right! 3 e-mails!!!

I know you are going to say “Hang on, last week it was Christmas! It was supposed to be quiet anyway, right?” Well, that may well be the case, but think about the amount of e-mails you got yourself. Probably with a significant slow down of incoming e-mails, for sure. But 3? And what’s even better, and here is where the milestone kicks in, all of those 3 e-mails I have received was actually Christmas eCards!!! Which means, that last week, for the first time EVER!, I have managed to not receive ANY work related e-mails!!! Whooooaaaahhhh! (Massive!)

It has taken me 46 weeks, but I have finally made it! I have finally been able to prove the point that you can go by a week without using e-mail, but social software, and still get the job done! And all of that having a stronger sense of being productive with my immediate team(s) / communities and the rest of the company. So, I guess it is time for me to embark into my next challenge … (Yes, that one I will be talking about shortly and which will have a significant impact on this blog overall. But that would be something to share at a later time …)

For now though, I would want to wrap up this blog post pointing you folks to a (recent) lovely blog post that my good friend Steve Rubel (Who I have finally had the pleasure of meeting him up earlier in the year face to face, in Hamburg, at Next08) put together from a recent webcast we did together for Edelman’s Change & Employee Engagement explaining further more what it is like “Thinking Outside the Inbox“. You can read the article over here: Living without Email – One Man’s Story. Are you Next?

There is also a YouTube video (See embedded video below) from our Skypecast conversation that lasts a little bit over two minutes, but the interesting thing, I would think, would be the longer version of that conversation, which you can go ahead and download from the following URL: Edelman’s Change & Employee Engagement – Steve Rubel Interviews Luis Suarez on “Thinking Outside the Inbox (40 minutes) where you would be able to listen to some further insights on what I have been doing all along and also shared a few tips on how you, too, can tame the e-mail beast!

And that would be it for me for this year, folks. A very exciting and unforgettable year already preparing what’s about to start, if not, already, in just a few hours from now … Happy New Year everyone! Hope 2009 will bring you all plenty of health, prosperity & peace!

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10 comments

  1. Hi Steve! WOW! That was fast! Many thanks for dropping by and appreciated the kind comments! Excellent stuff and what a way to close off a great year! Hope 2009 brings us all plenty of health and prosperity to enjoy it! Hope to see you in Next09 again! If not, I am sure there would be others!

    Take care and have a wonderful time! Happy New Year! 🙂

  2. Interested by your need to give up work e-mail. I havent been following you, so take my comments accordingly.

    Perhaps this is a corporate thing. If so maybe it says more about the corporation than the tool. It may also say things about how the tool was being used.

    I never quite understand the separation that is made between email and social software, except that with email you have to be a little more deliberate and proactive about sharing, and with much social software someone else deals with the spam. In the end though you can choose who is your network, with both. I always experienced email as social.

    Arent you just making the most of a brief space where your corporation hasnt worked out the social software you use yet?

  3. Interested by your need to give up work e-mail. I havent been following you, so please take my comments accordingly. I am just exploring.

    Perhaps this is a corporate thing. If so maybe it says more about the corporation than the tool. It may also say things about how the tool was being used.

    I never quite understand the separation that is made between email and social software, except that with email you have to be a little more deliberate and proactive about sharing, and with much social software someone else deals with the spam. In the end though you can choose who is your network, with both. I always experienced email as social.

    Arent you just making the most of a brief space where your corporation hasnt yet worked out how to use the social software you use?

    Happy New Year,

    Nick

  4. Thank Luis for sharing your experiences, exciting to see how this has evolved over the year !!!

    It has great to follow how you have made this possible.

    One thing that is good support for this within IBM, is the internal directory, Blue Pages & other interesting social media apps & possibility to tell others about your own preferred way of communicating.

    I will warmly recommend your video’s for quite a few people!
    Great example of changing the ways of working.

    Looking forward for your experiments for year 2009!!

    – Minna

  5. Thanks so much for 2008’s posts, Luis. I look forward to reading more in 2009.
    In my day job we definitely need less email and more FTF and phone interaction.
    This year, rather than admit a 2009 goal to at least open or delete each email, I might add a response such as, “I’m a little behind in my email but I have flagged it for attention and filed it on my wiki. [URL] Do not hesitate to phone [phone number] if the matter is urgent.”
    Of course I be more proactive by responding with a phone call rather than answering the email.
    Like those who posted before, I hope that we are amazed by what IBM is up to. As an undergraduate I was pretty impressed by going to an IBM library and being able to buy detailed manuals for any product or system at a modest price.

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