Sunday’s New York Times is carrying a story discussing TechCrunch as their primary “victim” of email overload.
And there’s the usual talk of email bankruptcy, folks who go out and delete all of their email, and so on, and so on, and so on.
Yes, we’ve heard all of this before – and we’ve heard it alot recently.
In fact, earlier this week I wrote a post outlining how Darren Rowse went from 10,000+ emails down to ‘Inbox Zero’ in a single weekend.
Now, I understand email. I get anywhere from 300 – 400 emails daily to my various mailboxes – and I’m currently engaged with a client that singlehandedly produces another 150-200 emails a day (Welcome to the world of Program Management at a Fortune 100 Company.. anyways) – so I’m having to dig through alot of email each day.
According to the NY Times though, Arrington’s situation might be just a tad bit more difficult:
E-MAIL has become the bane of some people’s professional lives. Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch, a blog covering new Internet companies, last month stared balefully at his inbox, with 2,433 unread e-mail messages, not counting 721 messages awaiting his attention in Facebook.
Mr. Arrington might be tempted to purge his inbox and start afresh — the phrase “e-mail bankruptcy” has been with us since at least 2002. But he declares e-mail bankruptcy regularly, to no avail. New messages swiftly replace those that are deleted unread.
The Times article goes on to discuss technological inventions, secretaries, and then eventually lands on the example of H. L. Mencken and his approach to dealing with postal mail. Which is really not the metaphor that I think we’re all looking for.
There have been enough articles in the blogosphere on effective ways to manage email that I’m surprised that this is the approach that the New York Times chose to take. Let’s take a look at some articles outlining effective ways to handle this much email:
- Darren Rowse: From 10,000 to 0 emails in an inbox in 24 hours – Darren talks about using G-Mail and some other aggressive measures to get control of his inbox quickly.
- Tim Ferris/Four Hour Work Week: The Holy Grail, How to outsource the inbox and never check email again: Tim Ferris outlines how he utilizes his staff of virtual assistants and some strict guidelines so that he never (ok, well, rarely) has to check email.
- Merlin Mann/43 Folders: Inbox Zero – The original approach to having an empty inbox every day.
These are just some examples of individual’s personal experiences implementing tools & methods to get control of their email.
In the end, it’s down to how you discipline yourself and use the tools that are at your disposal in order to make yourself productive. And that’s the point that I believe the New York Times really missed.
What are your email productivity tools?
Update: Ross Mayfield makes some great points about this issue on his blog..