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

DAB+ Designworks

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay

B&T's Women in Media profiles are like a wave washing over you. Even more so if an actual wave washes over you.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)

In this opinion piece, SalesPreso co-founder and CMO Joel Thomson (pictured below) explains how B2B companies can use their data more effectively and deliver a personalised customer experience that matches their B2C counterparts. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the EU’s recent GDPR legislation, this year has prompted individuals all over the world to consider […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio

Not one to rest on its laurels, M&C Saatchi unveils new production studio it hasn't called 'Not One To Rest On Laurels'.

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’

Yesterday at TedX Melbourne the team behind award-winning, Melbourne-based agency Your Creative launched their new tech venture Hassl, the project management platform taking on Trello and the likes. With the belief there was a better design solution to project management, the platform has been developed over the last two years in collaboration with their clients. […]

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly
  • Media

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly

It's one of the ABC's edgier, controversial shows, but Tom Ballard's proven too edgy and controversial for ABC chiefs.

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership
  • Advertising
  • Media

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership

Global discovery platform Taboola has announced a strategic partnership with Wider Planet, Korea’s largest demand-side and data management platform. The partnership builds on Taboola’s programmatic efforts in Asia-Pacific, and will bring together Korea’s largest demand platform for agencies and brands to provide access to Taboola’s global audience through premium publisher placements. The partnership means advertisers […]

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients
  • Marketing

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients

The Haus announces two new client wins. Admittedly, not as good as winning three, but far better than losing four.

businessman using tablet PC and information communication technology concept. IoT(Internet of Things). GUI(graphical user interface). paperless office.
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Smartly: The Future Of Martech Is Automated

Automated ad buying platform, Smartly was at the centre of the tech innovation stage at the Online Retailer conference 2018. Smartly head of ANZ Marta Bonzanini (pictured below) discussed the integral role automation plays in the future of marketers and creatives. “If an ad is not performing as well as planned, you probably have some […]

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games
  • Technology

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games

For the moments when we can’t be together IRL, Messenger video chat helps you connect in real-time with the people you care about most. Chatting face-to-face live makes all the difference when you have exciting news to share, you need a study buddy for a big test, or you simply want to pass the time […]

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo
  • Media

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo

Sphere snares Stockdale & Leggo business, which is a real estate group & not a simmer sauce as first reported on B&T.

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation
  • Technology

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation

With Aussie farmers facing so many challenges, could the answer be Blockchain technology? Ranking top 10 at this year’s Overseas Talent Entrepreneurial Conference (OTEC), pitching against 32 other start-ups from around the world, Aussie start-up Agunity are leading AgTech innovation. Having won the right to represent Australia during Investible’s nation-wide pitch competition, AgUnity took to […]

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci

Facebook's Carolyn Bollaci is the latest to sup at B&T's truth serum we prefer to call our Women in Media profiles.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Vic Govt Unveils ‘Tafe + Jobs’ Via Fuel Agency
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Vic Govt Unveils ‘Tafe + Jobs’ Via Fuel Agency

The Fuel Agency has launched the new ‘TAFE + Jobs’ campaign, aimed to promote and drive applications and enrolments for courses starting in 2019 There’s a lot happening in Victoria, with record investment in road and rail projects, and in the health, community and disability sectors. As a result, there’s greater demand for skilled workers. […]

Rakuten Marketing Appoints New CEO
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Rakuten Marketing Appoints New CEO

Rakuten has a new CEO. However, judging by the tired handshake photo, B&T doesn't have any new ways of illustrating it.

Why Consumers Block Your Advertising
  • Advertising
  • Opinion

Why Consumers Block Your Advertising

Who better to explain why your ads are getting blocked than a real ad blocking expert. As B&T has done right here.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Women In Media Profile: Jackie Crossman
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jackie Crossman

B&T has spared no expense with today's top Women in Media profile, save for suit hire, corsage and dry-cleaning.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kantar certified by Google as a verified Measurement Partner
  • Technology

Kantar certified by Google as a verified Measurement Partner

The announcement designates Kantar as an approved third-party measurement provider for brands looking to verify their media spend performance on Google owned platforms. Kantar is approved globally to provide both Brand Lift Insights for evaluation of brand impact from campaigns and for independent measurement of audience reach from campaigns on Google properties. Kantar CEO Eric […]

THIS
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Final Call! B&T Late Entries Close Today!

B&T Award entries officially close at 5pm today! Good news if you've almost finished, bad news if you haven't started.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine