The Quest for Email Ninjahood – I Admit That I Have a Problem

I’m beginning a short series here that, on one hand, I hope to use to educate and on the other hand I hope to expose myself and the flaws I have in how I deal with email.

Email quite simply is a problem. Some people are blessed to have little email traffic so they squander that luxury by creating email by sending chain letters or otherwise. I however, have a much bigger, and much more deadly problem.

At last count, across all my various email addresses, I receive about 900 emails every single day. Much of this is junk email (not necessarily spam, but still very Bacn). Another large chunk is mailing lists for WordPress, or Twitter or various different other mailing lists. I read all of it.

When I was at b5media, Jeremy lectured me (not just me) about email management. We instituted various techniques to get our Blackberry usage under control. It was best practice kind of stuff like turning off notification on all emails except ones with certain tags in the subject line. That worked, kind of. It worked for the more disciplined, but I always just figured that I was looking at my email anyway, no need to worry about stupid little additional things.

I left b5media and my email load did drop significantly. For awhile. Then it picked back up again as I was putting quotes together and talking to prospective clients. Much of my communication shifted from email to Twitter direct messages where potential clients often approached me asking if I could help them with a project or something.

My messaging got to be a real problem and my Blackberry had to be cleared regularly. There was just too much mail hitting it and I really didn’t want to see it all on my Blackberry.

Again, I read all my email. Suddenly though, I realized what people like Jared and Jeremy had been telling me for years: I didn’t need to be seeing every single email on my Blackberry. Not even close.

Over the next few articles, I’m going to tell you some of the things I’ve already done in the past two weeks and rules, literally and figuratively, I’ve put into motion in my email life. Everything that could be done has not been done, however the plan is ongoing and, as I’ve loved the results, I expect you probably will too.

4 Replies to “The Quest for Email Ninjahood – I Admit That I Have a Problem”

  1. I’m thinking about channel control … “I didn’t need to be seeing every single email on my Blackberry. Not even close.” is key … and find myself pondering coupling.

    There are (at least) two aspect to importance, something like significance (consequence of not dealing with it) and then something like time-sensivity (consequence of lag / latency / delay / postponement) … something bacn can be quite important in the moment because it’s going to change in value very quickly.

    I bet there’s an elegant formula in there somewhere, something like how the “quality” of money relates to the amount of money in circulation and the velocity of that money.

  2. Ben-

    Despite my background as a developer, I’m not sure human ingenuity should always be replaced by an algorithm. End of the day, we all can identify what is *truly* important and take appropriate action. I’ll touch on this stuff in later posts. :)

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