Saturday 18 November 2017

Fighting back against the tyranny of email

That's better: Deleting emails gives you the illusion of control.
That's better: Deleting emails gives you the illusion of control.
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

There's nothing I like more than a good session of email deleting. You know when you get an hour to spare in the evening and the bit between your teeth and you go for it? And it feels like taking control of your life. And you start going back. And you slash and burn.

Ninety per cent of it is simple. Most emails I get are rubbish, spam from various PR people, not just here but in the UK and indeed further field, who have clearly got my details from some directory or other, and who want to ask me to do a piece about anything from their beauty products to their garden furniture to a new obscure history book. They will tell me that Lord SnuffyMcSnuffington OBE is available for interview about his new tome on some general from the Crimean War. Or  they might say they have a new range of floor covering and would we please include an article on it. To which my answer is not really, no. Not that I answer them. I ignore them all. But they keep coming.

They keep coming all the time. Part of the reason I try to get a good run at culling at night is because at least if you do it at night there aren't loads more coming as you are deleting. I got stuck into it during the day once and between culling rubbish and answering the ones I should have answered, and then dealing with new ones coming in, I was actually making no progress on anything else. I began to feel that if I engaged in earnest with my email I would actually end up doing nothing else except deleting and answering emails. Because when you start answering emails back, then you get a flourishing of new emails from those people and it becomes this self-perpetuating vortex. You basically get trapped in the web and wonder how you ever do anything except serve the email.

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