I Stopped Using Email Clients And Now I’m More Focused Than Ever Before

By @TheMarkDalton.

Email clients have become incredibly popular over recent years, many of us are now using email clients and of course when I refer to clients I am talking about the email programmes on our computers – not people I do work for.

It could be Outlook, Apple Mail or a third party client like Airmail or Spark. Apple Mail has been my choice, if you are on a Mac it is a great option and offers everything you would want from an email client.

So two weeks ago I decided to stop using it and go back to using gmail through my web browser instead…what…why? Allow me to break it down and explain why I did it and what I discovered in doing it.

All the notifications

Probably one of my biggest gripes is that it pings all day, every single email is a distraction. Every time something arrives in my inbox it goes off and my eyes are drawn towards the banner in the top right corner of the screen. That takes me away from work, that stops me mid-thought when I am writing a blog post or when I am working on an edit. Sure I could turn on do not disturb mode but I don’t want to have to remember to do that ever single time I want to focus on some work.

When this happens, you are constantly connected even when you don’t want to be and the reality is that it is just not necessary.

Only certain people need a response asap

When I say asap I mean a real time critical response. Basically I only want to be pinged by a very very small group of important people. Namely my fitness coach and my loved ones. I don’t need to be alerted to promotional materials, I don’t need to be alerted to press releases, I don’t need to be alerted to the growing spam email. Hell I don’t even need to be alerted to client emails!

My inbox is always open in the browser and I check it several times a day. I have time put aside to working through emails every day so I will get to what I need to get to in a timely manner regardless. I always tell clients if they have a critical time sensitive issue that they should never email me anyway, text me or call me instead.

I don’t need to be wired in to the inbox every time I am on my computer and that is what has been happening so far.

I am now locked in

What I have noticed over the past two weeks is that without the distraction of all those emails through the day as they come in, I am now more focused than ever before. When I’m sitting down to write a blog post or edit a series of shots I can concentrate on the important stuff. When I am working on a clients site, social media, content or proposals I can focus on that work without emails irritating me because when you have high email volumes you can end up being distracted all morning.

Email sucks anyway

I hate email, don’t get me wrong I love how we can connect with people around the world through email but the actual process and how emails work I hate. There are so many better options to use now, email is not dying and is going nowhere soon so we have no choice but to stick with it. However when I take on clients I set them up on Slack if they need me, they can text and call if they need me. Email is available too but I just don’t feel the need in any capacity to have those notifications on hand.

If I am cross collaborating with teams for a project I now do all that through Slack. If we are in a team project and you use email to communicate then thats fine but don’t expect me to reply. I hate it, the conversation ends up being a total mess and I’m not going to do it if there are better forms of communication.

Emails are not dead but companies are ditching email in small numbers

What I find really interesting when I was researching the topic in general is that companies are actually ditching email in preference of platforms such as Slack. For people in teams made up of three people, five people or hundreds of people – Slack is being used as a replacement, however it only works if you go all in.

These companies are literally banning email in the workplace for platforms such as Slack. If only half the team was on it and email was still an option then the whole team would stop using it pretty soon and it would die off.

Business Insider is just one example of a company where Slack is now being used in place of email. This piece rounds up the experience they had in switching from email to Slack nicely.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/use-slack-instead-of-email-2015-2?r=US&IR=T

They are one of several companies who have elected to ditch the ways of email. So email is not dead but for cross team collaboration and communication with clients there is a much better way and that is the way I choose to reach people when working together because the flow of work and networking is so much more easy then through email.

So much is going down in the DMs anyway

I keep saying it, Instagram DMs are lit right now. There is so much going on in Insta DMs, I’m booking shoots, gaining new clients, reaching out to new clients, building new networks and connecting with awesome bloggers and content creators on a daily basis.

Seriously, whatever it is about Instagram as a platform, there is serious work being done via Instagram DMs, especially with being able to chat right from stories. How many more times do you want me to tell you? 🙂

Is there a case for dumping email clients?

I would personally argue there is a case for working towards dumping email full stop but it would take a mass movement which we are not anywhere near yet and may never be in the near future. Should you dump your email client?

Honestly it depends on a variety of factors, maybe you don’t get as many emails as I get and you don’t mind getting pinged by your inbox. Maybe you don’t mind getting back to people then and there when you can and are okay with getting slightly side tracked. Maybe they work for you but they don’t work for me.

I have found myself to be really cranking through the work without the distraction. I have times set aside each day dedicated to email so I don’t miss anything important but I’m so much happier and focused without the constant distraction of the inbox.

 

 

 

 

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