My day without email

IBM – like most organisations, has an email quota. When we go over it, you can still receive email, but you can’t send anything until you get your mail box back under your quota limit. Or in my case ask my manager to raise my quota. That’s fine, but it takes 24 hours. So I had 24 hours without email.

And I didn’t blink.

Our email system is fully integrated with instant messaging, so when I received an email most often the person who sent it was still on line, so my first reaction was to simply right click and responded through our chat system:

If people weren’t online, I called them.

If I needed to send a file, I uploaded it to our social platform (IBM Connections) and Connections sent the email notification on my behalf.

If I needed to ask a question, I posted it on their board (they got a email notification from Connections). In fact, this ended up being far more effective than email. As the questions were public, some other people jumped in and added to the answer.

I am no Luis Suarez, but this was an eye-opener. When I first met Luis I wondered whether he was customer facing, and if so how he communicated with customers. There was one message I needed to get to a customer about his meeting with Sandy Carter we had set up. So I sent him a text. I follow many customers on Twitter, so I sent them a direct message. I never even clicked on “New Message” out of habit and remembered I couldn’t send email.

Now my email is back – but it’s going to be the last collaboration tool I reach for, rather than the first.

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6 Responses to My day without email

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention My day without email | Jon Mell - Social Collaboration -- Topsy.com

  2. Jon, maybe we should impose a reverse quota system for e-mail: the more you use it to send messages or (God forbid) attachments, the more your quota shrinks in reaction. That should change behaviour quickly!

  3. Luis Suarez says:

    Amen to this superb blog post, brother! Tears running through my eyes while I was reading through it! That’s just *exactly* what I have been postulating over the course of the last three years with my motto of living “A World Without Email”; that you can effectively live a corporate live without having to rely *so much* on email; in fact, except for a couple of transactions (Calendaring & Scheduling and 1:1 Confidential conversations) everything else can be shared, collaborated, communicated, innovated together in open social software tools.

    Jon, I surely am glad you have seen the light; I bet over the next few weeks, as you keep adapting to this new way of working you would eventually find out how you can free up yourself from email and eventually break free into so much more interesting conversations altogether out there on the social spaces!

    Again, thanks for putting together such a gob-smacking blog entry and welcome to “A World Without Email”; there is no way back! :-D

  4. Great post Jon, there you see how quota in the end can be more effective than you ever anticipated as an email user :)

  5. I am about to loss E-mail as well, working on it :-)

  6. Pingback: E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez » Reflections from 2011 – A World Without Email – The Documentary

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