June 10, 2007

Don't Check Email? Are you crazy???

I'm puzzled. There are people that believe that not using email makes a person more productive. I totally disagree with this logic. In my opinion the notion is well intended, but tragically outmoded and not a match for the reality of work in 2007.

What prompted this rant was last week's online discussion on
execuBooks Blog about time management. FYI - I write for this site and have since it was created over a year ago. As is typical when time management is discussed, the subject of email surfaces. The consensus is not to read your email for it will only distract you from accomplishing your goals on a daily or hourly basis.

Here are a bunch of reasons why email is the best way to manage your time:
  • Email's not Email Anymore: when people say email, they literally refer one dimensionally to the tool they use to create and send messages. Email isn't just email anymore.. it's calendar, contacts, tasks, text, meeting requests, search, CRM, net-meeting and instant messages....but all in a tool such as Microsoft Office or Google Apps. No one I know in business or anywhere for that matter these days just sends and receives email...they collaborate!
  • Work is Geographically Dispersed: most project teams are distributed around the globe, across vast distances and time zones. Email is actually more efficient. For example you work in Tokyo's Marunouchi's District with someone based in New York City. When you leave for the day at 7PM, it's actually 7AM on Madison Avenue in NYC. Without modern collaboration tools, days and days are lost, and work grinds to a halt waiting for answers and decisions across vast distances.
  • There are no Time Machines: unless you have a time machine, business operates in real time. You can't go back and fix something. Competitors, customers, subordinates, suppliers have expectations for rapid response to queries. Checking email twice per day in most organizations is a liability - "I'm sorry I didn't check my email till just now. How was I supposed to know there was a problem with the assembly line in Guangzhu? What do you mean not hearing from me cost us $1 Million?" OK - I exaggerate..or maybe not... but you get the point.

This so called distraction is where we work and how we get stuff done. Suggesting otherwise is a business liability.

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