Since joining Mace 8 months ago I've made a conscious decision to try and stop sending so many emails.
At my previous firm I frequently sat in the top 10 list of people who send the most emails, and whilst frequency was one problem, the timing of my emails was another.
I was notorious for sitting in bed at 10 o'clock at night reading emails, getting wound up, trying to sort things before I went to bed. And, from 7am on the train into work, I'd be on them again, trying to juggle a million requests and queries from across the practice.
So, reading this article reminded me of my pledge to cut the volume of emails I send and the timing of those I have to write. Not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of Kate and my co-workers.
Have my efforts been a success?
Yes and no.
I've vastly reduced the number of emails I send, but that has been to my detriment in some cases. Unfortunately some teams I've worked with have a culture of 'if it's not written down it didn't happen' (thankfully not my team) and hence not following up a conversation with an email summarising what we've just agreed has meant that some things have slipped off people's to do lists.
And, to counter my reduction in emails, I've had to get a lot better at remembering those little things that pop into my head and getting them into one conversation in the office or on the phone when it's a more reasonable time. That part has taken some real getting used to and has probably slowed my creativity a little bit as I've not been able to be as impulsive as I used to be.
The biggest benefit for me has been improving my ability to switch off at night. Along with some other new practices (see my blog for those here "It's like you're a different person") , stopping work earlier in the evening and avoiding emails has helped me improve my work life balance, helped me sleep better, and has improved my productivity at work.
Reading the article linked below reminded me of how it's benefited the time I get to spend at home too, I'm spending less time on the laptop or on my phone replying to emails and more time doing fun stuff, whether that's going to the gym or swimming, seeing family or helping Kate with her new business venture.
Do I recommend turning off email after 7pm as the article suggests... yes yes yes!
Those who checked their emails most, whether male or female, experienced the greatest stress and reported the lowest scores for wellbeing, Becker found. But the impact spilled over to others at home, making partners more stressed too.