blog We’ve been hearing about the potential for internal corporate networks to ditch the dated email paradigm for newer and more efficient social networking technologies for some time, but so far we haven’t seen many examples in Australia. One which popped up last week courtesy of News.com.au is this piece about Matt O’Hara, a club owner in Wollongong who has largely gotten rid of email for good. The site reports (we recommend you click here for the full article, and there are also interviews on Sunrise and the ABC):
“The CEO of two Illawarra clubs has taken the bold step of not only ditching his work email account but convincing employees to do the same and return to the halcyon days of face-to-face conversations and chats on the phone.”
Ripple Effect Group general manager of social business consulting, James Dellow, who is a key local thinker in the switch away from email and towards social networking, has more on the whole situation on his blog (in fact, that’s where we heard the news to start with — kudos!), including the fact that the business manager concerned, Matt O’Hara, has been using other, more focused online tools — such as Basecamp and Dropbox — to fill the gap. Dellow writes about the trend in general:
“Matt’s experience is comparable with other organisations I’ve worked with in Australia, where most office-based users report that managing email (responding, filing, deleting etc) can easily consume a day or more of their time. So I’m not surprised at all that Matt was spending as much as 25 hours a week on dealing with email.
Matt also mentions in the Sunrise interview that one of the bigger challenges of reducing the use of email has been how they work with people outside of the club. This last mile challenge means that we probably can’t completely eliminate email for the time being, unless of course we find a better way to connect people between organisations.”
I am 100 percent with Dellow on this one. Over the past several years, I’ve attempted to drastically reduce the amount of email I receive, by unsubscribing from as many mailing lists as possible, getting my details deleted from databases, cutting out ‘alerts’ emails from various online services I use, filing emailed bills straight to the archived folder, and even removing Delimiter’s ‘Contact’ form, which had usually only been used for people spamming me with useless media releases. The result has been that I still get a fair degree of email, but it’s usually only quite important email — the frivolous stuff which wasted so much time has largely disappeared and everyone who wants to contact me bad enough still has plenty of avenues (usually, social networking) to do so.
In turn, this has meant that my quality of life has markedly improved. I now spend almost 100 percent of my work life researching and writing articles — I do very little else. This, in turn, has meant that Delimiter has flourished and I’ve been able to spend extra time developing an additional site in Delimiter 2.0. Previously, I used to spend hours a day answering email. Now I spend only minutes, and my new spare time has been ploughed back into making great content.
Cutting out email isn’t for everyone, and of course I still rely on it extensively as a journalist, but if you do need more time in your knowledge worker-type business or job, I recommend trying it. To the extent that it’s possible, you’ll probably find you’ll get a substantial benefit back from your effort in this area.