A World Without Email – Year 3, Weeks 29 to 51 (The Email Starvation Continues…)

28 thoughts on “A World Without Email – Year 3, Weeks 29 to 51 (The Email Starvation Continues…)”

    1. Hi Daniel! Yeah, indeed, I do realise about it, but, if you notice, this blog post was a very much long overdue update on how progress goes getting along, so decided to keep up accumulating some of those links and then share it across on this monster blog entry, as a way of helping shape how some other folks out there have been seeing this very same topic.

      Now, this is not something that will repeat itself too much, since I am not sure I would be allowing that much time in between updates from here onwards, so you will see shorter blog posts with less links as a way to tame the info overload beast ;-))

      Thanks again for the feedback, my friend! Hope to see you soon!

  1. Just a question on your email statistics : do you exclude email notifications from social tools or did you just disable email notifications also ?

    If yes, then, how do you follow some topics ? Only through some dashboards ?

    1. Hi Nicolas, thanks a lot for dropping by and for the feedback comments! I actually exclude those “emails”, because, to me, they are not emails, but what’s known as BACN, basically, notifications of content that’s stored elsewhere.

      The reason why I don’t count them is because my Inbox behaves now like an RSS feed aggregator filing all of these notices that alert me of content that’s out there.

      Mind you as well that I have turned most of those notifications off, eventually, and continue to rely, for the most part, on RSS feeds of the different social tools I use; much easier to manage the flow, in my opinion.

      1. Thanks Luis ; it was the kind of answer I expected.

        I fully agree that the still alive RSS feeds are better than email notifications when available 🙂

        I’ll continue to use your experience to promote “email as notification channel” and to avoid that email is where knowledge is going to die (fully agree also with this statement)

        1. Hi Nicolas, thanks a bunch for the follow up and for the feedback comments! Yes, indeed, it’s amazing to think how there are a bunch of people who keep claiming that RSS is dead, when to most of us it’s alive and kicking and making our lives incredibly easier, so for as long as we can possibly keep using them, I am there! 🙂

          Appreciate your willingness to help spread the message and happy to hear you would be doing similar things of trying to reduce your email traffic. By the way, that quote of “Email is where knowledge goes to die” is actually not mine; I have dearly adopted from Bill French, who coined it in a blog post back in 2003! Rather visionary back then already! 🙂

    2. Oh, yes, forgot to add on the above comment… RSS is not dead for me just yet; quite the opposite! Alive and kicking all the way! I would be in trouble without those feeds! 😉

  2. Hi Nicolas! Yeah, I know what you mean, but credit should go to where it is due, you know ;-)) Happy though to spread it around, since I passionately believe in that mantra from all along, since I first got started with “Thinking Outside the Inbox” 😀 hehe

  3. Nice! Thanks so much for the kind reference and I, too, am LOVING fighting the good fight. I’m not quite down to 17 (admirable indeed), BUT, I am no longer crazed by the chaos and perceived urgency that email craze presents. I used to have MANY that would just sit there and get older and older because I was just so overwhelmed. Between unsubscribing from lists, having staff ‘batch’ theirs, and not conversing via email, my volume is much more valuable. My other tip is 0 email Friday – so I leave the office on Friday with 0 in my inbox. So nothing is ever more than a week old. My mind is clearer, my days are less frenzied, I’ve freed up HOURS a day, and I’m finally spending time on higher level projects. Thanks again for your post!

    1. Hi Kris! Thanks a lot for dropping by and for the feedback comments! Wonderful success story! I am surely glad you have shared it across over here to demonstrate how it *is* possible to leave “A World Without Email” and save up all of that time not having to process tons of emails to do some more productive and complex tasks; basically, work!

      Your story surely is rather inspiring and I am happy to read how tenacious and resilient you have been about it all along! Surely, something admirable and worth while replicating and do hope other folks take notice it’s not just one or two of us doing this; the tide has turned upside down and here we are all of us coming along demonstrating how it’s possible to re-gain back our own productivity levels!

      Thanks much for the feedback! 🙂

  4. Hi Luis,

    I must admit that I did not read your other articles on that topic, so you might just need to post another link to answer my question. But I would really like to know, what other tools you use and more importantly to what extent you use these other tools to replace email.
    Basically: did the total amount of “messages” you receive and write also drop, or do you just communicate via more different channels now, but still write the same amount or even more lines to communicate with people?

    Interesting experiment anyway, I guess especially inside IBM …

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Götz! Thanks much for dropping by and for the feedback comments! Catching up with the streams after a rather intense couple of weeks, including some time off as well!

      Right, essentially, what I have done with this initiative is simply move over 95% of my email conversations into social software spaces, resulting in perhaps a few more interactions than through email, but certainly out in the open and available to everyone, which means there is also an exercise of transparency and openness that helps reduce a number of transactions where before there wasn’t any visibility of what is happening.

      I just wanted to prove how you can live a healthy work life without email as the king of communication and collaboration, like it’s happened in the last 10 years, but to open up the door to much more effective and collaborative social tools altogether, which make up for much more relevant and resourceful information / knowledge sharing.

      For some good examples on how this is working out for me, I would encourage you to have a look into this mindmap titled “A World Without Email” and this recording, where you can listen to plenty of the tips I use on a daily basis to move away from my Inbox and into social spaces, and where I mentioned a whole bunch of them as well.

      I am now very much due a couple of blog entries, where I can provide the final progress report for year #3 and another one for the first 4 weeks for years #4. Stay tuned for more insights and experiences to come through! And thanks much for the feedback! 🙂

      1. Luis,

        I’m a relative newcomer to the “no email” discussion. I learned about you from reading posts by Paul Jones, who is a huge fan of your work in this area. While I have an open mind I’m a skeptic of the benefits of the no email argument.

        I was looking at the mind map you linked to and followed a link on it to the New York Times story on what you’re doing. I’ve a few comments/questions about what you said in that piece.

        “… I cut the number of e-mails that I receive by 80 percent in a single week.”

        What did you gain? A communication is a communication regardless of form. For the sake of round numbers let’s assume you were receiving 100 emails a week. Now you receive 20 emails and the other 80 communications come as social media posts, IMs, phone calls, etc. They’re still communications. If you still read them, respond to them, then all you’ve done is taken them out of one inbox and put them in another. What did that save and how is it better? Unless you have data supporting that the overall number of communications fell as a direct result of shifting the medium, or that the time it takes you to respond to each communication decreased as a result of shifting the medium, then I fail to see what you’ve gained. It actually seems less efficient since with email you had one inbox and now you have several.

        “Instead of responding individually to messages that arrived in my in-box, I started to use more social networking tools, like instant messaging …”

        How is an instant message “social networking” and how is it any different than an email? IMs are one of the worst form of communication since by their very nature they demand immediate attention. They interrupt whatever you’re doing, having no regard for availability, and the sender almost always expects an immediate response since they can likely see that you’re online. Email is far more efficient since it is inherently asynchronous, thereby allowing you to respond on your schedule rather than the sender’s.

        “I also started to use the telephone much more than I did before …”

        If the goal of no email is to save time, which you allude to in your opening paragraph where you mention the time spent catching up on e-mail, and be more productive, then the telephone is the worst option available. Not only is it demanding, even more so than IMs, it also wastes time. It inevitably leads to leaving messages, telephone tag, missed calls, call backs, etc. It also requires that you and the other party be free at the same time. As I mentioned above, email allows you to communicate when time permits, not be forced to communicate when the other person is available. I’ll agree that the telephone is more personal, but even that can lead to more wasted time in the form of the social pleasantries.

        I’ve seen other no email proponents mention spam as a major reason to get away from email. the argument seems flawed since there appears to be just as much spam on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. What’s worse is that on Facebook a significant amount of spam is malicious and since it appears to come from someone the reader trusts they are more likely to fall victim.

        Social networking also lacks the tools email clients have for avoiding unwanted posts. For example, I use Yammer at work. There are hundreds of posts a day that have little or nothing to do with me that still appear in my stream. Far more than I get via email. Yet by the very nature of the product I have to wade through the product to find those that do pertain to me, that I might be interested in, or that I should pay attention to.

        Bottom line. I’m a big believer in data and statistics. Do you have data that conclusively demonstrates that social networking is a more efficient and effective communications tool than email? I’m talking hard facts, not things like “x percent of kids today prefer it over email” or Gartner reports predicting the percentage of businesses that will be using social networking in five years. I’m looking for objective facts measured against a baseline.

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