Friday 18 July 2008

Dreaming of a new inbox

One of the liberating aspects of changing jobs is the idea of starting a fresh with a new email inbox. However, following Luis' lead I've been thinking if I might be able to minimise use of my new work inbox from the very start. I'm quite serious about this, as looking the stats for my work email over the last three years I'm seeing some scary numbers:

  • In 2006 I sent and received 10 emails per day on average, in 2007 it was 18 emails per day on average but in 2008 its now 30 per day on average.
  • So far this year I've managed to accumulate 2GB of email data, which means I would be on track for a 4GB mailbox by the end of the year.

This is despite having other communication options available, like instant messaging, project rooms and even a wiki - email is still king at the moment. In fact, breaking down my 2008 stats a little further, 70% of the volume of my work mailbox consists of messages sent to me. That's about 20 incoming emails per day, compared with Luis who had "between 30 to 40 e-mails a day at the highest peak of times" but who is now receiving just a little more than that per week! (And you wonder why I'm so interested in Enterprise RSS.)

In that respect its quite interesting to compare my work email account with my personal Web-based email account - I can't easily grab the same stats but I know that a great deal of the traffic there these days is predominately notifications for the different social apps I use - e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, etc - and a few newsletters. There is probably room for improvement on that email front (like shifting more to RSS), but to be honest its less of a problem in my mind and certainly requires less day to day management at this point. Bear in mind the ratio of received to sent is probably even higher in my personal mailbox than work, but most of the incoming data is simply notifications.

Of course, I know that the challenge isn't really just one for me and its not just about reducing the numbers. Either way, I'm going to try and use this opportunity to finally loosen email's grip on me at work. And I might even end up being more productive as a result of it :-)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:05 pm

    Hi James! Thanks much for the lovely blog post! I must say that I am very happy for you with your new move and I am sure you would be doing just as good, if not more, than in the previous one, and if that means start from scratch with a new approach towards your new corporate e-mail, all the better!

    I wish I could do the same thing and start all over. It would have been quite an experience if, right from the beginning, I would have said, no more e-mail, please! Go here! I bet plenty of folks would be looking at me like some kind of weirdo or something!

    Either way, really glad to see how you are going to extend your experience into new pastures by improving the way we collaborate and share our knowledge. I am sure that folks may have some initial reluctance, but as soon as they see the many many benefits they will be sold on it! I am sure.

    Either way, good luck, thanks for the link love and for wanting to continue further with this new reality of ours on "giving up on corporate e-mail!". Congrats!


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