I spend a lot of my day, most probably, on email. I spend more time consuming, thinking about, replying to, or acting as a result of email than I do with my sons (2 and 5). I spend more time on email than I do awake with my wife in the same room. I probably spend more time on email than I do sleeping. I definitely do not sleep enough …
So Google, the company that is pioneering driverless cars, the fountain of youth, and “secure” internet searches did something amazing today, the took a really, really long time to deliver much of my email. Their coverage of the event has an Googley quantity of stats and numbers to tossed in. I guess those are supposed to make me feel like “wow, these folks really take this seriously. After all, they’ve done some basic math to understand how many of their customers were impacted and math is, like, hard. Right?”
The thing is Google. I’m cool with this. It’s ok. I’m actually not mad at you at all … seriously.
Today you showed me just how terrible I am at email. You showed me just how disruptive Gmail is to my day, to my productivity, to happiness at work. The fact that it takes me until late at night to mostly get through my daily load (~300) and it’s only getting worse.
But today for the bulk of my workday, I was getting only about 50% of the messages folks were sending my way and it was glorious! Guess what? I actually got to finish some things I started. I actually got to help people when they needed my help. The slower rate of incoming email actually had me checking less, and spending more time on tasks.
I know this is nothing new. There are folks all over these here green internets waxing poetic about how they regained the spring in their step just by backing away from email more and for longer periods of time. But I never thought this would work for me. I’ve always prided myself on going above and beyond to get back to folks as quick as a can with as thorough an answer as possible.
It wasn’t all smiles and happiness though as I got about 50 really not-awesome emails whilst I was driving home and here I am at 1am with some still unread. Maybe tomorrow Gmail will fail a bit harder so I can catchup.