What about a World without Email?
Cal Newport, in his stimulating book A World Without Email, contends the digital revolution – email, DMs, text messages, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – has created “the hyperactive hivemind” that demolishes down time needed for concentration and focus and creative work, stirs up the demand to stay conversant with the hivemind conversations, and causes constant checking of email.
I wonder about you: What do you do to minimize the interference of digital communications that lead to the overactive hivemind?
Here are three cases against the email crush:
1. Email reduces productivity
2. Email makes us miserable
3. Email has a mind of its own
Now some observations made along the way of the first part of Newport’s book:
Email means we are never boundaried from our co-workers.
The average worker gets 126 emails per day.
The average worker checks email every 6 or 7 minutes (hundreds of times per day, in other words).
The email world demands and expects constant attentiveness to the newest email ding.
The crush of emails forces productivity time to early early morning or late late nights. Or weekends.
Email overload has changed how we perceive work, and the perception is about busy-ness not productivity or creativity. Frenetic communication is not the same as work.
Unstructured communications don’t work the way the mind works for constant interruptions of our concentration blocks the creativity needed for productivity.
Digital communications are not the same as interpersonal communications, and the latter is how the human brain is wired.
Avoiding emails produces anxiety of missing the conversation, and thus the crush of emails makes us miserable emotionally.
The average time of actual concentration is about 75 minutes in the actual work day, and rarely is that concentration time all at once; the longest is about 40 minutes.
The email crush has fragmented work and our minds.
Emails are all over the map with respect to work: it comes to us from all departments all day long, which leads again to more fragmented thinking.
We tend to work on two tracks: what we’re trying to do and the crush of constant email interruptions.
Our brains do not process parallel lines well; switching conversations unravels concentration.
The more time spent on email, the more stress; the more we ignore the constant conversation at work of our email, the more we stress! Email is not our job but it has taken over our jobs.
Email can be frustratingly ineffective.
Email creates more work.