Could axing your email improve your communication and effectiveness?

EmailI came across an interesting piece in the London Evening Standard earlier this week about people who are closing their email accounts in a bid to communicate more effectively and be more productive.

You might ask how anyone could terminate their email when most people seem so dependent on it. And even if they did, how would it improve their lives and what would they replace it with, if anything?

Journalist Richard Godwin cites a recent report which claims that 100 billion business-related emails are sent every day, globally.

All those emails may be making us less productive at work. Godwin references a study by Dr Tom Jackson, of the University of Loughborough. Apparently, it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover your thoughts after reading an email. So if you only receive 100 emails a day, you would still spend the equivalent of more than one working day per week in a mild state of confusion.

Even deleting emails consumes huge resource with email costing companies between £5,197 and £10,621 per year.

Some people are finding solutions by turning to “centralised” systems such as Slack. This is like a realtime “chat” programme (like MSN Messenger) but with the ability to share documents , as on Dropbox and Googledocs.

It’s not just about efficiency, however, as email can also make us unhappy.

Goodwin cites Paul Dolan, psychologist and author of Happiness by Design, who argues that happiness comes from immersion in pleasurable and/or purposeful activity. As email provides a constant source of interruption, you will inevitably be less happy as you can’t give anything your full attention.

While I thought this was an interesting article, I couldn’t see myself giving up email entirely – not quite yet – though there are occasions when I would dearly love to. Are you ready to take the plunge?

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