A big thank you to Frank Gruber of SomewhatFrank.com for posting a video interview of me, which you can find below, discussing the difficulties of staying focused at work with so much email, and how AwayFind can help. This video came at a time when the blogs are aflame with discussions of email management –I address some of the challenges of processing email below.
In his post, which you should check out, Frank describes the AwayFind product, and references an article that’s been getting a lot of attention–Michael Arrington (of TechCrunch) discusses getting too much email.
Arrington argued that we get too much email and that he has trouble filtering out the most important messages:
I routinely declare email bankruptcy and simply delete my entire inbox. But even so, I currently have 2,433 unread emails in my inbox. Plus another 721 in my Facebook inbox. and about thirty skype message windows open with unanswered messages. It goes without saying, of course, that my cell phone voicemail box is also full
Last night, Jeremiah Owyang also complained of a similar problem in his post, Email Consumes Us:
Ironically, most of my social media peers and I still use email as one of the main ways to communicate back and forth to each other But even more, there are more inboxes to check, twitter, facebook, linkedin, I’m getting business messages from these tools and I’m sure you are too.
In an update, Owyang points out that checking email twice per day may be a great solution, and mentions tools like Xobni and ClearContext. (Both of which are presently Windows + Microsoft Outlook oriented solutions, and both of which I’ve used for extended periods and have gotten value from.)
This brings me to AwayFind–which helps to facilitate the first part of Owyang’s solution–checking email less often. That’s the only problem it solves–it doesn’t help to organize email like ClearContext, and it doesn’t provide statistics or social graph information like Xobni. It just lets you escape email by giving you the confidence that urgent messages will still reach you in other ways. This enables you to batch process your email when you finally do check it. Oh, and it can delegate emergencies to others automatically.
I have a lot of other things that I’ll eventually be sharing about AwayFind and about email intake. In the next week I plan to write a post about taking applying filters and rules seriously–and how to ELIMINATE emails before you even receive them. But in the mean time, here’s the interview from SomewhatFrank—I welcome your thoughts on getting too much email in the comments… I know that AwayFind is just one small step in that direction.
Here are some resources for solving your email woes:
- Leo Babauta of Zen Habits [guest posting on 4HWW]: 10 Steps to Become an Email Ninja (great ideas about email elimination)
- Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero video (it’s good from the get go, but long) on processing email–I recommend grabbing the audio here and listening in your car
- And how I personally process email in Outlook (look for more on this on the blog soon)