Email wastes time

Meet Pauline. This morning is no different than any other – she opens her email and groans. 43 unread emails in her inbox. She starts ploughing through the emails. Pauline has to read each email and figure out if she needs to do something – if it’s actionable. In some cases the action is hidden deep within an email. Of the 43 emails, only 4 need her to take some kind of action.

Lack of project visibility means more time in meetings

As she reads each email she tries to maintain a picture in her mind of how each email changes a project that she or someone else is working on. If she sat down and counted them, she’d realize she’s working on 57 projects. Some are big and formal with teams and plans, some are small and informal, a question from her boss, parts of which she has delegated to two members of her team. But she doesn’t have a conscious picture of all of these projects. She’s keeping them all in her head and with each email she updates the only project plan she has — the one in her head.

After one email she realizes she doesn’t know the current status of a project she delegated to one of her team. She sets up an impromptu meeting for later that afternoon to review progress.

Another email is a reminder of a question she received two weeks before that she’d forgotten to answer. Half way through an apologetic answer, a reminder goes off on her computer – 10 minutes to the weekly departmental status review – “sh*t”.

Losing sight of what’s important

“How’s that deal with Yoyodyne coming along?”

“G…good. We’ve sent in the proposal, we’re waiting to hear back from them.”

“Let me know as soon as we hear. That’s really our top priority project right now.”

“Will do.” She bites her lip.

He’s right, that’s her most important project but no-one was phoning or emailing about it because she owns that project. Because she wasn’t being interrupted about it, the project wasn’t urgent, it had slipped her mind.

Pauline leaves work at 7:46 hungry, angry and tired. Thinking back over the day, she tries to remember something she’s accomplished but nothing comes to mind, it’s all just an urgent coffee-fueled blur. There must be a better way.

The financial cost

Sound familiar? This is a scene repeated in offices the world over everyday. 80% of people don’t feel engaged with their work, don’t see the connection between their day-to-day tasks and their organization’s goals. In many studies, companies where people are not fully engaged, perform worse financially. People are juggling many projects in their head. They continually lose focus and get overwhelmed. They are less productive than they could be and spend more time in meetings or juggling emails.

There must be a better way

The tools people use to manage communication and projects were not built for this pace of work.

What we need is a work environment which:

  • encourages us to focus on the work that’s important
  • insulates from constant interruption
  • provides a calm awareness of the work of our colleagues

Next Steps

Read why today’s tools don’t work or

Stop wasting time with tools that don’t work and try Goshido (free trial).