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Tools for taming the email beast

August 16, 2012

Further to my little rant yesterday about focusing our attention, I am pleased to share a series of tools to help each of us with taming the email beast:

  1. Taming the email beast (undeck) describes the email beast and 23 habits to tame it.
  2. Taming the email beast (commitments) is a one-pager of personal commitments for managing email more effectively.
  3. Taming the email beast (pocket version) is a pocket version of the essential habits.

Comments and suggestions are welcomed, as always.  Please let me know if you’ve implemented any of these practices and whether they have helped or hindered your daily working and learning.

Update: great article from Harvard Business Review on Coping with Email Overload that confirms much of the expertise that went into the above documents.

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From → Smarter worker

7 Comments
  1. Hi again brainysmurf

    You might have seen this blog post by Howard Rheingold – if not, thought you might be interested. He coins a term “mindful infotention” – interesting article linking with your comments on being discerning regarding where we direct our attention.

    http://blog.sfgate.com/rheingold/2009/09/01/mindful-infotention-dashboards-radars-filters/

    • Thanks, Howard’s work is definitely part of the fabric of my thinking on this. I am grateful for the reminder about his article because re-reading it today led me to his link on Twitter literacy, a fine read!

      In my opinion and experience, social media are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they offer potential for serendipitous discovery and ‘signals above the noise’, to which we otherwise wouldn’t have access. On the other hand, social media allowed into one’s inboxes and devices without the proper filters and focus can become as noisy and disruptive as regular email, making it even harder to figure out what is important and worth following or diving into more deeply. I think the struggle to find a balance between inviting new signals and not being deafened by them is at the heart of Howard’s mindfulness framework. Does that make sense?

      • Yes it does ~ and the mindfulness is a process, not static “done with that”, that takes (for me at least) continual filter adjustments.

        • Thanks, Vanessa, well said. Mindfulness is definitely a journey that involves “tinkering” with the process (John Seely Brown) and making adjustments according to volume, preferences, anonymity/publicity, etc.

          • and one person’s mindfulness may not be another’s (something else to be mindful as well as of ourselves)

            • That is well said, worth keeping in…mind! 😉

            • That is well said, worth keeping in…mind! 😉 In all seriousness, I have been reading quite a bit about introverts lately and Susan Cain’s book leads me to believe that introverts have a particular type of mindfulness when it comes to sensitivity, attention to detail. Worth reading!

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