Road Test: Email edition
In this new series, NEXT team members will road test new ideas. This month: Editor Rachael decided it was time to stop being ruled by her inbox
Not everything about email is bad. For a start, I much prefer an unsolicited email than a cold-call. And there are times I need to compose a carefully considered response rather than winging an answer over the phone. But email is a never-ending drain on my time, attention and productivity. I began this experiment with 24,441 emails in my inbox (I treat it as my ‘archive’). Of those, 124 were still unread at 3pm on a Monday. And that’s after deleting all the obvious junk and dealing with the ones I considered most urgent. Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, describes email as “a to-do list that anybody in the world can add to”. Sounds horrifyingly accurate to me. I decided to follow his four tips to controlling my email, rather than letting it control me.