Ah the joys of e-mail. You can receive them while you’re sleeping, while you’re awake, away from the office, away from home, away from your computer, they keep coming in. They pile up. Work related questions. Silly chain letters. With or without attachments. A word, a sentence or pages and pages of copy, jokes, photos, real estate for sale or some other thing. They keep on coming and they pile up. Reply to someone and they’ll probably reply again or reply to all. It’s the never ending cycle. Just try to get to “In-box Zero,” and you’ll soon realize it’s hopeless. The e-mails keep on coming.
Now tech writer, Nick Bilton thinks you might want to consider quitting e-mail. “Life is too short,” he says. Citing a report that 107 trillion e-mails were sent in 2010 between approximately three billion active e-mail accounts, Bilton wants us to consider turning it off. “On average, corporate employees sent and received about 107 e-mails a day.” He even cited a study about the effects of e-mail where it was discovered that e-mails cause stress. People who didn’t check their e-mail were happier. And obviously, all of us would prefer to be happier than to be stressed.
But how do you ever get off the e-mail hamster wheel? Surely some e-mails are important. Surely, valuable information is exchanged. Who wants to be out of touch when something important is going down? The problem is that e-mail isn’t selective and ultimately you just can’t stop them from coming in. But you can train the people in your life to circumvent e-mail. Use instant messaging services. Respond to an e-mail via text or Twitter or Facebook. Perhaps you might call if it’s important enough. Soon enough “they” might learn that the best way to communicate with you is not by e-mail.