We live in a digital world. Email is a must. There is no way you can get a message to somebody about what is on your mind without it right? Yet at the same time, when you login Sunday afternoon to your email while the kids are napping, admit it, you are horrified to find 178 emails. If not more…
So you diligently spend 2 hours deleting and answering emails, reading blogs and likely getting stuck on Facebook at some point in between. With your inbox clear, with the exception of that one article you want to read, you lovingly head to the kitchen to celebrate your massive victory… then you realize the one task you actually sat down to achieve never happened.
So how do you actually stay on task, communicate with the world, receive information from the world in this digital universe? The answer might be: it’s time to ditch the email. Looking to the future, it’s clear email as we know it now is going to be nothing but an antiquated system.
At one point the Pony Express was considered the best way to send a message – until Ben Franklin revolutionized the postal system. The post system was all well and good until Alexander Graham Bell developed the telegraph, again which was all well and good until the rotary phone. Then the home phone, then cellular phone came along… you get the idea.
Even now, with your smartphone, how often do you actually place a call? Usually Snapchat, text message or Facebook allows you to communicate with others at the touch of a finger.
So if it is so easy to communicate with others, why not ditch this epic time consuming heap known as email?
It’s how I delegate to my team. It’s how things get delegated to me. It’s how we stay on task for our projects.
That’s an easy fix, there are some really great apps that help you to take a project and stay on task irrespective of your team role. My favorite project organizer is Asana. I was first turned on to Asana when I was a member of a blogging website. I could seamlessly work with a dozen other people I had never met, all the while staying 100% out of my email.
Asana is a mobile app which runs on your tablet or smartphone and also has a desktop interface. For an entrepreneur – it’s the cat’s meow. And the best part, unless you have a huge team and are using all the bells and whistles (highly unnecessary) it’s all free!
Other teamwork apps include creating a “secret team” in Facebook where you can create polls, share ideas, ask for input on a project etc. It can be a bit redundant with Asana but if you have an independent contractor it’s nice to add them to a facebook group and yet you might not want them in the whole bells-and-whistles of Asana.
Another great tool you might consider is Google docs. Similar applications include Dropbox, Amazon drive, Sugar Sync… aka “The Cloud.” By saving documents “in the cloud” there is no need for time consuming emails to be sent back and forth with attachments. I am especially fond of writing/working in Google docs because you can track and suggest changes.
If you want to notify someone of changes you made in google drive the document can notify via email, which frankly stinks because we are trying to eliminate that time suck, right? So instead consider updating Asana to the people working on a project and they get alerted at that moment that you made a change or are requesting input. It’s also likely Google will soon have push alerts to smartphones once changes are requested.
What if a client wants to get a hold of me and have an old school conversation?
Really, how much time does it take to send an email? 10, 15, frequently 30 minutes!? You are too busy charting your path to mess around with writing an email, rereading it, amending it, making sure no emotions can get lost in the message (which invariably they do). People always misinterpret an email. There is no substitute for talking to people.
So you can still have an email address as people still do send email to communicate, but why not have the task of reading and responding to most email as a delegation to a member of your team? Sure there are times you will need to respond, but again instead of a 30 minute email and then the back and forth that goes on, why not have your team setup a brief phone call? Or heck have them answer it for you.
My favorite platform for having short conversations is Skype. There is no substitute for meeting someone in person and establishing that connection, but you also don’t want to get sucked into more time wasting. So if you can setup a Skype call, and if the other person can’t get online, go ahead and do a phone call.
But, and this is a big BUT, be 100% certain that they know that you only have 15 minutes to meet. If you need more time with a client or official, you can always setup a follow up, but do not allow a 15 minute substitute for a phone call (or even better 5 minutes) become more like 30 minutes to an hour. Your time is sacred!
In 100% transparency I am NOT 100% off of email. But what is happening, is I am moving further and further away from email. It’s very easy to check facebook/asana/google drive alerts and save myself the task of pushing the delete button 200 times in an hour.
What about getting information? I like reading a blog/forum/society email and rely on those to guide me.
Ahhh great question. Again technology to the rescue. There are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there to stay connected with your niche, stay up on current events, learn new or expand on current ideas. There is literally a podcast, or 1200 out there for every niche. Smartphones, tablets etc make it a breeze to download the next episode without even pushing a button.
Which brings us to a great point: starting in early summer of 2016 the Full Circle team, led by Dr Frazer Smith, and yours truly will be launching a new podcast. Our aim is to Help you win the week and conquer the weekends with the “360 degrees of success” podcast.
In your quest to stay up to date on your coaching, expand your business and/or just learn more about a life and business balance, you have half the Full Circle coaching team at the edges of your tympanic membrane.
So even if you are not ready to give up email 100% right now, at least you can start to consciously create how you WILL spend your time.
Visit the site to be notified of the launch of the podcast here