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

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A World Without Email – Year 2, Week 37 (Oh, the Irony of Things)

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo & SurroundingsOh, the irony of things… That is just probably a good title for the blog post I am just about to put together. I know, and I realise, this entry may sound a bit too strange, but as you may be able to see later on, it’s probably the best way to describe what happened last week. Yes, indeed, here I am again, putting together this article with some further insights on last week’s progress report on living "A World Without Email". Quite surprising, I tell you!

I know by now you may be wondering what exactly happened. Intriguing, eh? I know. Not to worry. Done on purpose, although I can imagine how, probably, the embedded weekly progress report screen shot I will be sharing shortly may be able to clarify some of the stuff that took place and which took me by surprise a little bit as well! So I guess I better share that particular snapshot, so you get to see what I mean:

A World Without Email - Year 2, Week 37

Whoahhh! My goodness! How did that happen? I mean, how can it be that for the last few weeks I’ve had a steady count of incoming emails to say between 18 to 25 and, just last week, that all went away and jumped, sky high, into the total number of 35 emails in a single week! Ouch!! That hurts!

Now, I do realise that most of you folks would probably think that 35 emails a week is not too bad; and I would probably agree with you on that about 21 months ago. However, today I don’t think it is that good. That’s right. After nearly 2 year’s having giving up on corporate email at work, it is interesting to see how sometimes that number of the emails received during the week comes pretty close to the number of emails I used to get right at the beginning on a daily basis. Plenty of progress, you would probably be saying, but for someone like myself who wants to receive less and less emails by the month that sounds like trouble ahead.

And, believe it or not, I am the one who is creating that trouble. And that’s what I mean with… the irony of things. The reason why last week I got those 35 emails was no other than myself falling back into the trap of engaging back with fellow colleagues using … email! Yikes! How could I have I done that? I mean, I should know this. I have lived through this for a good number of years. I know exactly what the reaction is going to be, and how to avoid it, yet I didn’t. The golden rule of email struck again in full force: the more email you reply to, the more email you will get back!

That’s just exactly what happened last week! Those two days you can see on the snapshot where I got 10 emails a day were actually due to three different email exchanges, where, instead of me using social software tools to engage, I gave in, oh my goodness!!, and replied back through … email. Geez!

I don’t think I have learned the lesson, have I? After 21 months, the temptation is just so… tempting, that I can’t help myself. And what happens next? People don’t leave their comfort zone, because that’s where they live in, so they bring me back into *their* own comfort zone and I am back to square one.

Oh the irony all things… it seems that if I don’t keep actively fighting my way through reducing my incoming count off emails, no-one will; with the ultimate result that if I don’t continue to put a stop to that I know I will go back to what I was over 21 months ago. And there’s no way I will be doing that. Like I have said a few times already, I have already seen the light, I have seen (And experienced!) what it is like being back in control of your own productivity (While still helping others), and, like I said, there’s no way I’m going back.

So, I guess folks should have enjoyed that moment of weakness, because it is now over. Today I got things back on track and things are looking good again. You see? It is not the first time, nor the second one (If I recall correctly) and perhaps not the last one either. But there is one thing for sure. These moments of weakness help me understand how, if I don’t get actively involved, it is going to be very hard to make it happen. Thus, here I am again putting up some fight and ensure that I can keep consistently reducing that number of incoming emails over the course of the next few months. And that way I can keep demonstrating to people how there better ways of sharing your knowledge and collaborating with your peers than good old email.

For this week I think that would be it. For now though I would just want to conclude this blog post with another thought that has been in my mind for a little while now, and which fits in quite nicely with that "Oh… the irony of things…". After thinking about it quite a bit, this is going to be my last *weekly* progress report over here in this blog. I know these entries don’t seem to be very popular in here, which, I think, is understandable. So, instead of boring you folks with these weekly reports, what I am going to do is to eventually move them out of this blog and onto a new social software tool that is making the rounds nowadays and that, funny enough, uses email as one of its main user interfaces.

Yes, I’m talking about Posterous, where, as you well know, I have got an account there that is screaming out loud to get things going and add some content to it. Well, this may well be it. One other chance to share with people how that progress is going, without clogging my main blog, and at the same time I will be making use of that account to share some further insights on the increasing number of articles that keep flourishing out there proving poor email as a knowledge sharing and collaborative tool. And as you well may have guessed already, I have caught a good number are draft entries that I will be putting together in the next few weeks and, from there onwards, we will see where things will take us.

Then every so often I still plan to come over here and post sharing overall general impressions of what it is like living in "A World Without Email". So, that way that conversation won’t disappear entirely from this blog. For now, I am almost ready to start posting into my Posterous account. If you want to subscribe to it, you can do so by going into this link, but … do it at your own peril 😉 hehe

Thus let’s continue with that meme of "Oh … the irony of things" then … Are you ready?

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