Why I No Longer Use Email
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Oh no, not another rant about how email is bad! I know, I know. You've heard it all before. But I'm not here to tell you that email is bad. I'm here to tell you that I no longer use email. And I'm going to tell you why.
Keep in mind this article is about my personal experience with email. I'm not saying you should stop using email. I'm just sharing my experience.
How I Read Email
When I read something, I tend to read it quickly. Often more times than not, I'll read it twice or more to make sure I understand it fully. Unfortunately, I am not a speed reader, but I do read quickly. I also tend to read things in my head. I don't read out loud.
My email hygiene has become so poor that for over two years I have been using a tool to preview each email instead of actually opening it. I use this tool: Gmail Message Preview by cloudHQ.
I just read the preview. I then decide if I want to read the email. If I do, I click on it. If I don't, I delete it...or do I??
Cleaning Up My Inbox
As I mentioned above, I don't always delete emails that should be deleted right away. I typically go through phases. Every quarter or so, I will prune my emails and get back to inbox zero. This typically happens by just archiving everything and unsubscribing and deleting in bulk.
But most often, when my email is unmanaged and properly groomed, it's a sore sight for sore eyes.
Even with the quarterly cleanup, I still have a lot of emails in my inbox and it quickly becomes overwhelming. I have tried many different ways to manage my email, but I always end up back at square one.
Email Has A Fundamental Flaw
Email is a productivity killer. It's a distraction. It's a time suck. It's a black hole. It has no governance. It has no rules. It has no structure. It has no order. Even with the best intentions, email is a mess.
Email Has No Governance
If someone emails you, there are no rules. Sure you could enforce them in a 400 word email footer, but who's going to read that or respect it? No one.
Email Is A Free-For-All
Email is a free-for-all. It's a free-for-all for the sender and the receiver. It's a free-for-all for the spammer and the spam filter. It's a free-for-all for the marketer and the consumer. It's a free-for-all for the hacker and the security team. It's a free-for-all for the scammer and the victim.
I don't even allow images to appear in my email because of the tracking pixels. I don't even allow links to be clicked in my email because of the tracking links. I don't even allow attachments to be downloaded in my email because of the malware. - Did I mention... EMAIL IS A MESS?
Email Is A Time Suck
Ask anyone who has held the title of CEO in their career and they will tell you that email is a time suck.
You're constantly being bombarded with cold emails, spam, candidates, pitches, partnerships, and more. Everyone thinks you can solve their problem with a simple email. And you can. But it's not that simple, is it?
It's a never ending cycle of email. And it's a never ending cycle of time wasted.
How Does One Quit Email?
I'm not sure how one quits email. I'm not sure if it's even possible. But I do know that I have quit email. And I'm not looking back.
I'm even considering setting up an autoresponder that says something like this:
Thank you for your email. I no longer use email. Please contact me via Twitter or LinkedIn.
How I Communicate Now?
More often than not, I don't. I don't communicate. I don't respond. I don't reply. I don't engage.
I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm just saying this is what I do.
I use Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. I use these tools to communicate with people. I use these tools to communicate with my team. I use these tools to communicate with my customers. I use these tools to communicate with my partners. I use these tools to communicate with my friends. I use these tools to communicate with my family.
My Preferred Communication Methods
In this order, I prefer to communicate with people in the following ways:
- In Person
- Asyncronous - Slack, Discord, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube
- 1:1 Video Call / Conference Call
- Email (yes, it's last on my list for a reason)
Ideally, I would welcome a style that communicates in public only. Extreme transparency.
If it cannot be said in public, then it should likely not ever be said.
If a conversation must be private, it is likely personal or has some kind of intellectual property associated with it.
I am also not a fan of messaging services to chat with people. I turn all of them off which helps me focus. I don't want to be distracted by a message from someone. I want to be able to focus on what I'm doing and not be interrupted. I have ZERO FOMO. I want ownership of my life and my time. Boundaries are very important to me.
How Do I Get Things Done?
That's the secret. I get more done now than ever before. I'm more productive now than ever before. I'm more focused now than ever before. I'm more efficient now than ever before.
How Do I Get More Done?
I get more done by not using email. I get more done by not being distracted. I get more done by not being interrupted. I get more done by not being bombarded with emails - 350+ emails per day.
How About You?
What are some of your favorite ways to communicate? What works for you? What doesn't work for you?
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