This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Email rules, but it need not

Exalted Ruler Parking Only

I've had Stop Letting Email Control Your Work Day by Paul A. Argenti flagged for follow-up since it was posted a month ago. The title is pretty obvious: so many people let email control their work day. This doesn't make sense - it is a tool like any other and should be controlled by the wielder, not the other way around.

The piece is framed initially as the advice Argenti gives to his (overwhelmed) students. And it is advice I learned in grad school as well: At some point, you can't do everything. Thus, you must prioritize and let those things you don't need drop to the floor.  In the case of graduate school, those priorities were usually related to class work wasn't going to be necessary to advance my learning goals. 

In the case of the business, it is critical to understand that the work I do links to the work of others - we aren't independent actors any more. So when I generate work for my colleagues, that slows the whole system down. And if we can find ways to work together (and communication is a big part of work these days), not only can I help myself but I can help the whole system.  Which gets us back to email.

An important point Argenti makes is that the nature of email is that whoever sends email has the most control. This is good and bad. Good from the standpoint that there is a simple maxim that if you send less, you will get less. But it also means that when you send email, you are (potentially) the source of creating more work (and interruption and disruption) for others. So follow the basic rules of good communication: chose the right medium, bottom line up front, clear writing (that the recipients will understand), etc, etc, as Argenti describes.  

Resistance - not so futile

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