Email is not a job


“Doing email” is not a job…OK?

It will never be in your job description, and along with essential activities like making coffee, taking toilet breaks, greeting your fellow workers, watering the office plants and refilling the coffee machine, you do not get paid for it. “Doing email” for several hours each day means you are wasting time. It’s the same as opening envelopes in the old days: instantly throwing out the junk; reading and filing FYIs and simple notifications; and putting the rest in your in tray for future action. This doesn’t take hours; it’s a task that should be done quickly and effortlessly, rapidly sorting wheat from chaff.

Your are however paid to communicate constructively with your colleagues, your customers and your suppliers. Imagine handwriting a letter to your most important customer. You think about the paper (120gsm, bond white), the pen (fountain pen, royal blue ink), take care with your script, sign your name with an elegant flourish. A lot more care and attention than you employ when wielding the letter opener and skimming inbound correspondence. A bit more effort and positive thought than the sigh, scrunch and toss elicited by yet another conference advertorial / stationery catalogue / (insert favourite junk mail item).

So…

Why is it when you sit down “doing email” for hours each day you include writing critical communication in this activity. “thanks”; “ok”; [delete]; and then a casually defensive reply to a customer complaint, oops another one just popped up, yes I would like pizza for lunch, no it wasn’t our fault you must be mistaken.

Be honest with yourself. Your email has become poly-filler for your calendar, expanding foam in your brain. It has swollen to fill all available thinking time, making you very, ahem, busyjust remember, email is not a job!

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