This past week was pretty hectic:
- On Monday, I flew up to Kirkland and back to catch up with the Webmaster Central team.
- On Tuesday, I drove up into San Francisco for a Web 2.0 dinner
- On Thursday, I hosted a visitor from Italy.
- On Friday, I ate Buck’s in Woodside for the first time.
- On Saturday, I spoke at WordCamp. I’ll check with Google PR to make sure they’re okay if I put up the PowerPoint. In the mean time, Stephanie Booth live-blogged it.
I also managed to talk to folks on my team and get work done, but I didn’t have a lot of spare time (e.g. to blog about some of the stuff above). When I looked back over the week, my biggest time sink was email. Handling email is getting to be the largest fraction of my time.
I’ve tried all kinds of tricks to reduce the email load:
- I archive any mailing list that I don’t really need in my inbox.
- I try to check email fewer times during the day.
- I write replies to emails, then save them as drafts for a while before replying, so I don’t get stuck in a cycle of replying, getting a response, and quickly emailing again.
This week (with a little prodding from a friend), I realized that it’s still not working. I’m barely keeping my head above water, email-wise. I need a different approach. I can see a couple options:
1. Go “lossy.” Let a few emails drop on the floor. I’m already doing this from time to time, like when someone emails out of the blue asking for an interview or something that would take too long.
2. For emails from outside Google, shard the workload and ask for help.
I’ll probably do both, to some degree. If you’re emailing me from outside Google and expect a personal reply, you might want to lower your expectations going forward. If I can reclaim some of the time that I spend on email, that will let me spend more time with my webspam team, my wife, and blogging about random stuff.