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

From the blog

A World Without Email – Year 2, Weeks 42 to 45 (50 Minutes a Week!)

Tenerife - Mount Teide's SurroundingsWhile starting to look back into another amazing year with plenty of things happening all over the place, both on a personal and work related levels, I guess it’s time for me to start putting together a number of different blog posts on what this year has been like so far and what lies ahead for 2010. No, not to worry, *none* of these blog posts will be about the well-known, and already abundant, 2010 predictions series. Like every year, I’m planning to make it a bit more personal than just a business or industry focus. Like I said, for all of those there are hundreds of articles already out there which I am sure you may have been reading already…

So, over the next couple of weeks I am going to share a number of different reflections on what 2009 has meant for me and what it has enabled to prepare for the upcoming year. And perhaps the main major highlight that I have been thinking about throughout the last few weeks is how, once again, another year, I have managed to keep living "A World Without Email". Yes, that’s right! For the second year straight I’ve been able to carry on with my experiment of giving up on corporate email to the point where I never thought I may be able to pull it through altogether, but, here I am, coming closer to that date that will mark the third anniversary and still going strong!

It’s interesting to see how over the course of the last few months I seemed to have settled in with putting together blog posts with those "weekly" progress reports, but on a monthly basis. It looks like that’s the timeframe I keep coming back to in order to share what’s been happening. Interestingly enough, in a previous blog entry, I mentioned how I would be making use of my Posterous Web site to move those reports to. Yet, it hasn’t happened, as you may have noticed …

And judging for how attached I continue to be to this little project overall, I doubt it will ever happen. More than anything else, because I still want to keep things simple and point people to a single focal point of entry where they would be able to find all of the different progress reports without having to use multiple URLs, but just one. And besides that, also because I think the overall experiment still has got a place in this blog, at least, that’s how I feel about it and why, perhaps, I will continue to share those progress reports on a monthly basis over the next few months… Yes, I’m planning on keeping things going into the third consecutive year without using email at work! Yay!

I know that perhaps plenty of people out there bumping into these blog posts may not be rather excited about them, but, to me, it’s all about proving a point; and that’s been part of a reflection I have been pondering over the last few weeks as well: "A World Without Email" has always been associated with elsua. So why change that, right? That’s how most folks out there who have been following this blog for a while got to know someone called Luis Suarez, who nearly two years ago challenged the status quo of the corporate world saying out loud that enough was (Still is!) enough! No more email, please! Smarten up, think! and start making use of much more efficient and effective collaboration and knowledge sharing tools! Welcome to my Enterprise 2.0 world!

2009 has been quite a ride in this space, for sure! Having started the year feeling very much like I was alone fighting it all, showing and educating folks on how they themselves could move on further from email and into various other social software tools, surely has proved to be a rather exciting experience when at the end of the year I have been witnessing how several dozens of the people who I closely collaborate and share knowledge across with have managed to also cut down on their incoming email counts to the point where in most cases, and for a good bunch of them, I don’t even have their email addresses! Whoahhh!

Well, 2010 is going to continue with that trend. As more and more of my colleagues, and other fellow knowledge workers, get acquainted with a good number of social software tools somehow I sense how that third year without corporate email is going to be just as successful as the first or the second one. So if for this year I had set up a follow up challenge to receive around 20 emails, or less, a week, somehow I feel I’m ready to stretch it all out in 2010 and perhaps keep decreasing that number even more! Say between 15 to 20. Or even between 10 and 15, why not, right?

But how have I been doing over the last four weeks, you may be wondering, I am sure. Am I ready to keep things going with this experiment into the new year? Well, I think so. I hope so! If you take a look into the progress reports for weeks #42, #43, #44 and #45 you will see how over those few weeks things have been going really well (#20, #23, #12, #19, respectively, the number of incoming emails received) and since we are entering that time of the year where things are much slower than usual I can always be hopeful that I’ll be well into the new year right on target on that potential follow up challenge for that third year giving up on corporate email. W00t!

A World Without Email - Year 2, Week 45

It’s interesting to see how when comparing the same periods of time from the first and second years the progression has been rather remarkable thinking that plenty of weeks I have been getting as much as half of the emails in the second year from the first one, so I keep being optimistic that things will continue going down, even though plenty of people keep saying that our corporate email usage will double in 2010. We shall see …

For now though, I’m just pretty excited that throughout these 45 weeks I have gone through without email at work I have been averaging around 24 emails per week. Yes, 24!! Which means that I have probably been spending around 50 minutes a week to process them all (Yes, 50 minutes a week!) and the rest of the time I have just been sharing knowledge and information (As well as collaborating across) in networked environments, i.e. social networks and communities, which is probably one of the best things I may have done in my 13th year working for my current employer: IBM. I may venture into saying as well I just regret one single thing from this whole experiment: not having started with it all back in 2000, when I was first exposed, and started using, social software tools… Oh well …

2010, here I come again! Are you ready?

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