Evil Email: How Constantly Checking Messages Is Ruining Your Work Day

Evil Email: How Constantly Checking Messages Is Ruining Your Work Day
SHARE
THIS



Whybin/TBWA’s Sydney campaign manager, Dave Matthews, was wondering where his work day went. He fast realised the problem was right at the tip of his fingertips…

Hi. I’m Dave (pictured below). I work in account management. And I’ve always had a problem. For as long as I can remember working with clients, I have developed an unhealthy habit.

DaveM-210x280

 

My problem…

… saying it out loud is always the hardest part…

Was checking emails.

There. It’s out!

I checked my emails all the time. It started at my desk, on my work computer, during work hours, but at some point – I can’t remember when – it took over all parts of my life. At work, at home, on my way to and from work,  on my phone at work as I walked to my computer that had my emails on it.

I never actually realised my habit was unhealthy until it was too late. I told myself ‘it’s normal’ and ‘it’s part of the job’, and ‘how else do I stay on top of things?’. That’s right, I was in stage 1. Denial.

Then one day, about four weeks ago, I had a revelation.

I was going through an intense phase at work where I had a higher workload than usual. I noticed that although I had a plan at the start of each day, I would very rarely get through my planned list. I couldn’t figure out why.

It hit me…..EMAIL!!!!

I would spend my entire day with the email screen open and notifications turned on. I would be working on an urgent task, but then I’d get instantaneously sidetracked.

The problem was that when email was on, I wouldn’t determine what I’d get done that day.

Others would.

So I toyed with a crazy idea.

What if I turned my email notifications off, and only ever opened my email at the following times:

9:00am / 1:00pm / 5:00pm..?

I gave myself one week to commit to the experiment, and here’s what I faced immediately:

  1. My clients freaked out. I wasn’t responding to their requests as quickly as I once had.
  2. My (internal) producers freaked out. They wouldn’t get constant updates and immediate responses to questions.
  3. I got a severe case of FOMO. I knew things were happening on my projects that I wasn’t witnessing in real time.
  4. I didn’t get to procrastinate – on the tasks I was subconsciously avoiding.

The discomfort on all the above forced me to make a few observations about account service life in an ad agency.

Observation #1: When a client writes in an email ‘this is urgent’ with no follow up. It’s usually not urgent. When a client writes an urgent email and follows up 2-6 times immediately on your mobile saying something’s urgent, then yes this is probably urgent.

Observation #2: If you tell internal departments that you’re not on emails, they still email you. If you don’t reply within a few hours and they rely on you for information they will either call you or come find you… it’s not a big deal.

Observation #3: When you spend your day cracking on with tasks that need to be done – rather than reacting to emails – you produce work that is more considered, more intelligent, less rushed, and that you’re prouder of.

These were three observations I was able to make from just a few days on my new email schedule.

Now, four weeks in, I’ve noticed two things that I honestly never expected.

First thing: When I’m not dragged into urgent emergencies immediately, I react to them faster and smarter. It’s amazing how knowing that I’m a few hours behind a crisis makes a difference to the approach of a situation. I know I’m always too late offer an immediate solve. So instead, I stop, consider, create a plan, then execute with a clearer mindset.

Second thing: I’ve created less (unnecessary) work for myself. If I answer an email immediately with a question, that leads to another question, that leads to a discussion, that can create a day of work in itself that is not always required. Whereas if I don’t react for half a day, that person who sent the email (and didn’t require an immediate phone call to follow up) may be half a day through solving the problem already, and I can come in to the picture to help them once I have the time and headspace.

Thanks for bearing with me through this. This has been great therapy, and I feel my problem is almost resolved. One of my problems, that is.

You may agree with this way of working, you may hate it. But I’ll say it’s worth asking yourself how many times you’ve been asked in a job interview “how many emails are you able to respond to in a day?”.

If you’re not getting hired for that skill, then why would it be something you’re working so hard at?

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart
  • Media

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart

Zenith Sydney's Karen Halligan has pulled-up stumps, although that's not to infer bad light had anything to do with it.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands
  • Marketing
  • Media

PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands

PR agency Hotwire has rebranded, yet sadly not to "Hot Cocks Who Rock Your Socks Off". Which would've been far cooler.

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia
  • Advertising

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia

After a competitive pitching process involving five agencies, Torrens University Australia has appointed challenger agency VCCP as its new brand strategy partner and creative agency for 2018. Acclaimed for its work on dynamic brands including ING and Compare the Market in the financial services sector, Laureate Australia CMO Anne Da Cunha said VCCP’s reputation as […]

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director
  • Advertising
  • Technology

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director

AI advertising company GumGum has announced the appointment of Sarah Baskerville as its sales director for Victoria. Baskerville joins GumGum from Ansible, where she spent two years as its Melbourne mobile director. Prior to joining Ansible, she was head of specialist sales and partnerships at News Corp Australia, and also held a number of sales […]

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland

McCann Queensland’s second instalment of ‘The 5th C’ campaign launched over the weekend for online diamond retailer The Diamond Concierge, which received over 47million views around the world in the first 48 hours of it being released. In this second phase of the campaign, The Diamond Concierge gave away an $85,000 diamond ring, with Gold […]

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins
  • Marketing

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins

Digital marketing agency Sparro has announced the appointment of Hannah Jones (pictured above) as a key account director following a spate of client wins. Jones joins Sparro’s senior team alongside founders Cameron and Morris Bryant, overseeing a portfolio of accounts that includes Webjet, Domino’s Pizza, TAFE NSW, Temple & Webster, F45 Training and Bing Lee. […]

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry
  • Media

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry

In an industry facing change, Jacqui Mooney, editor of Women’s Health believes brands such as hers will continue to be a constant. Please note: this article was contributed by Magazine Networks. The magazine industry may be seeing substantial change but Jacqui Mooney has a goal that remains firm: to create happier, healthier lives for Australian women. […]

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums

Is your game chainsaws or large marlin wall-hangings? Can't seem to attract the mums? This couldn't come soon enough.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Network Ten Creditors Approve CBS Deal
  • Media

Network Ten Creditors Approve CBS Deal

It seems the fight for Ten between CBS and media moguls Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon may finally be over.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
MKTG Signs Exclusive Commercial Partnership With PlayersVoice
  • Marketing
  • Media

MKTG Signs Exclusive Commercial Partnership With PlayersVoice

MKTG has announced it has signed an exclusive commercial partnership with newly-launched sports storytelling site PlayersVoice.com.au – an agreement that will see the agency move into a new territory of sports marketing. The partnership between MKTG and PlayersVoice will see the business managing brand partnership opportunities for the new platform; working with clients to deliver […]

Domo Introduces New Data Security Software Solution
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Domo Introduces New Data Security Software Solution

Domo has announced it has introduced new cloud security technology for its Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) software, which includes unique capabilities like rolling generation of data encryption keys and a built-in kill switch. Domo BYOK is the first BYOK enterprise software solution for cloud analytics and business intelligence, and builds on the company’s existing security, compliance and […]

Shopper Media Group Grows Sydney & Melbourne Sales Teams
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Shopper Media Group Grows Sydney & Melbourne Sales Teams

Shopper Media Group (SMG) has continued to grow its Sydney and Melbourne sales teams to keep up with the demand for Smartlite Panels for shopping centres. Ashley Munro joins SMG as group sales manager for Sydney, having previously worked in a similar role at NOVA Entertainment. Laura Mason has been appointed as SMG’s business manager […]

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the Men's 100 meter semifinal on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
  • Advertising
  • Media

Olympics, Census Prove Tough Hurdles For Media Agencies: SMI

Australia’s media agency market has experienced another tough month in August, according to the latest data by Standard Media Index (SMI). SMI noted the softer demand this time around was primarily due to the Rio Olympics and Census providing abnormal bookings last year, resulting in demand for August 2017 so far being back 12.1 per […]