Email Sucks

Email Sucks

I think it is natural for us to wax nostalgic from time to time. When the things that we like change, after all, it can make us crazy. It’s can be calming to remember “the good old days” when things were done the way we liked them.

Personally, my nostalgia is business-related. I long for the days of the big empty desk with nothing to obstruct my view of its finished wooden top other than an appointment calendar and a telephone, almost out of reach. Oh yes, I could get some serious work done at a desk like that.

Instead, I have a computer and a cell phone and they’re both hooked up to my email. If I’m not careful, email starts to run my life. I hate it when that happens.

Because email sucks.

Three reasons it’s terrible

It’s overburdened

Any time that I want to use an online service, whether it’s to book a flight or manage my time, I’m forced to give my email address. Now I’m hammered by offers, updates, and surveys that I don’t want.

What could have been a relatively efficient means of communication has become swamped by nonsense. Maybe I should start a phony email account to use for all those logins?

It’s slow

Assuming that you’re hooked up to a decent internet connection, you can send and receive email messages almost instantly, there’s no doubt about that. The problem is with the lag-time.

When I send an email, depending on the message, it takes me a few minutes to write it. Then it goes and sits in someone else’s inbox for God-knows-how-long and then they take a few minutes to write back. If I don’t get a clear answer to my questions (or am myself met with questions in need of answering), then it takes a few more minutes on either side (plus the time between email checks) before the matter is resolved.

When you pick up the telephone, that same exchange takes as much time as it took you to type the original email! We are trending towards an increasingly digital means of communication, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best.

It’s distracting

Hands-down, the biggest reason that I hate email is that it is so darn distracting! The impulse to check for any new emails is a strong one. It’s also one that our business ancestors didn’t have to worry about. Instead, they could focus on the task at hand.

The worst part about the email phenomenon is that it doesn’t just distract you once. It distracts you repeatedly. Before you know it, the hour you planned to dedicate to payroll has been interrupted four times. Those distractions are actually even more costly than they appear, too.

Every time you draw your focus away from your work, you have to build back up to your previous level of concentration. It’s hard to keep yourself focused when there’s a never-ending dialogue calling for your attention.

Someone else’s To-Do list

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Your inbox is nothing more than someone else’s To-Do list. The frequency with which you receive a purely information email is probably surprisingly low.

What you’re receiving are requests and instructions, all of which bring you further off your own, pressing tasks. And that makes it hard to run a business.

Email sucks.

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