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How Much Time Do You Waste On Email?
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I don't know about you, but I consider myself a high-end email user.

I'm not sure where you score yourself, but sit back and ask yourself:

How many emails do you get in a day?
  • less than 10
  • 10 to 25
  • 25 to 50
  • 50 to 75
  • 75 to 100 (ignoring spam, I'm in this bracket - sometimes more)
  • more than 100

What level of automation do you have with you email?

  • Everything is in your Inbox
  • You have some folders (labels in Gmail) that you manually manage
  • You have some rules (or filters in Gmail) that address some filing issues (some of my email inboxes sit at this level)
  • You have managed to get towards Inbox zero using all of the above.
  • You have adopted one of the SAAS (software-as-a-service) add-ons to take on the task of managing your email overload (I've done this on a couple of email Inbox's to test out how well these different services operate).
How are your email work habits?
  • You have more than two email Inbox's and have not yet integrated them into a single platform (that's me for some of mine).
  • You have 'notifications' turned on (or their equivalent) and get a 'ping' every time an new email pops into your Inbox.
  • You stop what you are doing when you get a notification to look at a message.
  • You have set-up a routine for looking at emails (e.g. once an hour, once every half day etc.) and have turned off auto-notifications.

Now, here's the real kicker - how many of you check email on your mobile device outside of work hours? How often?

It's estimated that the average office worker spends one quarter of their work day with emails. Let's be conservative and follow through this thought experiment:

Let's assume we spend 2 hours a days on emails (including out-of-office mobile-device addiction).

So, you spent 10 hours last week - no, 12 hours (adding in some time over the weekend) checking or working with email. Approximately 50 hours (rounding up) last month. Or 600 hours last year. Assuming an 8 hour working day - that was 75 days of your year on email.

THINK about that for a minute. What could you do if you were able to recover 25 days of your time, or 50 days? That is 50 days of... what? Of doing the things you want to do? Of doing the things that are more important to you, your family, your customers?

The thing is, when people think about email, they often don't run this thought experiment - and if they did I would suspect they would be a little more willing to take some simple steps to 'claim back' their life.

On a final note - in a decade you could be spending almost two years of your life (using the 8 hour work-day metric) reading and responding to emails. Are you ready to claim back your life?

Managing email overload isn't a luxury, but a necessity in a world where we are blasted by messages from every quarter. There are lot's of different ways in which this can be tackled. It's not which approach you take that is important. It's the fact that you make the decision to do something about it!


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