I just wrapped up two 30 day challenges (no sugar for 30 days and no iPhone for 30 days). I’ll try to report back what I learned soon, but in the mean time I wanted to alert you that today I’m starting a new 30-day challenge: not replying to outside email.
When I announced my first 30 day challenge and did a poll on what challenge to do next, “no email” was near the bottom of the list. But there’s good reasons for me to try to reduce my time on email right now:
- I have a big internal project at work (nothing related to webspam) that’s going to take all my time for a couple weeks.
- I’m also planning to take a couple weeks of vacation time in the next month.
So the fact is that I probably wouldn’t have had much time to reply to outside email in the next month anyway. Also, I’ve noticed that sometimes I spend 1-2 hours a day responding to outside email. I’d like to re-assess whether that’s the best use of my time. For example, if I spent that time on more scalable ways of communicating, it might help more people. Taking a step away from responding to outside email might also help me find better ways to manage that communication. Maybe someone else can help me. Maybe I can find ways to fix what people email me about (e.g. modify or improve the spam report process so that people don’t feel the need to email me directly with spam reports). This is a chance to re-assess how I’m spending a fair chunk of my time at work and look for a better solution.
I’m not taking the attitude that “if I reply to a single external email, then I’ve failed,” because emergencies do happen. Rather, I’m going to make a deliberate effort to respond as little as possible to outside work-related emails. At any rate, I think I’ll learn something new from this challenge, so I hope folks will support me in this experiment. Wish me luck, and feel free to provide suggestions or tips in the comments about how you tackle the email monster, or ideas for new 30-day challenges.