email management

Email Detox: Can It Really Be A Thing?

Email Detox: Can It Really Be A Thing?

If dealing with email is as stressful and creatively draining for you as it is for me, then you have been temped to just say "f*ck it" and turn off the whole damn thing. While my most recent post was all about how to manage an overwhelming email box, in this post I want to explore the idea of going on an email detox. An email detox as I am defining it, is not using email at all for an extended period of time.

Now I know what you are thinking. No way in today's email-dependent must-have-an-answer-now world could you possibly think of turning off your email. If social media MOFO is a habit of guilty pleasure, email isn't quite so optional. We rely on it for everything from work correspondence, to communicating with our health care teams, to confirming e-commerce transactions. Just try moving through the day not being asked once for your email. I dare you.

And then there is the simple fact of the increased productivity and efficiency that email has brought to our lives. For example, instead of having to call six different members of my board of directors, I can email all of them at once with all the same exact information. If phone beepers and fax machines of years ago accelerated our methods of communication, email ramped it up to light speed. That's hard to imagine living without.

How To Manage Your Overflowing Email Inbox

How To Manage Your Overflowing Email Inbox

I'm sitting here with over 700 emails in my inbox, and I've been semi-offline for just a bit over a week. Something has got to give. I understand where a large chuck of my email activity comes from: my various volunteering roles and graphic design freelancing. But the amount of "junk" email that fills up my inbox is still vastly disproportional to the important emails. And by "junk" I don't litterally mean junk, I do have a filter for those emails. By junk I mean emails that are just clutter. It needs to be seen, but it also doesn't need to swamp my inbox so much so that it keeps me from reading the really important emails. Or simply feeling overwhelmed. Do you feel my pain?

So my question is: where is all my email coming from, and how can I interact and organize it in a way that is the most productive and the least frustrating?

The answer to the where part of that question is pretty straight forward. It comes in because it can. While the significant upside of convenience that the internet has brought to our lives, an equally significant downside is the flurry of "junk" or unsolicited email that it has created. Any transaction or point of interest you incur on the web requires you to provide your email address.