Being a CEO of a media company, I get a lot of e-mail. Too much e-mail: partnerships, fund-raising e-mails, sales related e-mails, social-media e-mails, startup press releases, PR e-mails, notifications, the list goes on. Altogether, my inbox gets ferociously attacked by hundreds of e-mails every single day.
According to my RescueTime app, I spend on average of 1.9 hours a day on e-mail. Surprisingly, this is below the 2.42 hours average, which is most likely the result of our internal ban on e-mail in the company.
Still, that is quite a considerable amount of time – 20% of all my work-time is spent on e-mail. If you were to give this data to anyone who is good at system optimizations, without putting the e-mail label to the task, there is no doubt in my mind, that this single task would be the first to be scrutinized for optimization.
Not only is it a huge time-sink, but perhaps more importantly a drain on your willpower. The concept of willpower depletion was outlined by Roy Baumeister in his book Willpower
The idea is very simple – the more decisions you take during the day, no matter how big or small, the less willpower you will have left at the end of the day.
That is one of the reasons why Mark Zuckerberg, and many other famous/successful people, minimize the amonut of decisions they have to take per day. From wearing the same clothers daily, to taking the same route to work, etc.
Now think of e-mail. Each e-mail is a cascade of decisions. Should I open it? If so, should I then read it? After reading it, should I reply to it? After replying, should I then archive it or set a reminder? Repeat that 100 times a day and you will have absolutely no willpower left at all, and at that point binge-watching your favorite TV show becomes a very appealing thing to do.
So, to summarize, my hypothesis is that by removing e-mail communication, I will free up my time to do more productive things, improve my communication with people and most importantly – save up on my willpower.
The goal is to last for at least a month and to then create a longer and more detailed article on the preparation process, as well as findings and results. If you have any questions/comments or ideas – let me know.
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