Ashley On the Job

Email Hell

You guys, I’ve had writer’s block. What makes it so awful is I’m not even a writer! How can this be?! I mean, I like to think I’m sort of an amateur writer with a few decent stories to tell, but this level of avoidance and frustration is out of hand. (Bless you, real writers.)

A few weeks ago I started a new gig. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d say in the last three weeks, I’ve received double – maybe triple – the typical number of emails in my work inbox. (Eek!) I started thinking that maybe my desire to write is being hindered by the amount of work-related writing I’m currently on the hook for. Basically, work email is trumping my communication priorities. At this point, I’m so desperate to not email that I have tried to solve a good portion of the email questions/proposals I receive with a phone call or an in-person chat. (And “chat” should be used loosely…we all know those are turning into meetings.)

Luckily, I like to read and have a metro commute of decent length that allows for some quick wins in my day. (Flipboard has been super awesome for streamlining the content input in my life.) Last week, I ran across this FastCo article, “How Email Became the Most Reviled Communication Experience Ever.” Warning: they used an over-abundance of obnoxious GIFs in the article, so read with caution. And to save you from losing your lunch trying to read between those GIFs, I’ll boil it down to the bad news, folks: We tried to make email do everything and now it’s not exceptionally good at anything. To make matters worse, we’re pretty much neurochemically compelled to check our email…on the chance that there’s something critical this time.

The article was a timely read since I’m implementing new project management processes for a team in need of major process improvement as part of their product deliverables. The team is actually giving some of the tools highlighted in the article a shot and testing for comfort levels and usability. I’m hoping we can find just a few tools that can begin to replace the functions that people have turned to email for…and hopefully I can get back to writing about things I love and things that inspire me. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be digging out of email hell.

– Ashley Respecki

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