Ive seen over and over that many people use their emails in one way or another as tasks. These are things I see all the time. You have an important email coming in, drag it to an important folder or follow up folder to look at it later. 5 minutes later an email for a request from a client comes in. That gets dragged or tagged for yet another folder and so it goes on. Sometimes people respond immediately and will be waiting for a response on that email. The different uses of email as a task storage goes on and on and on.
How do you?
How do you effectively collaborate? How do you track what is going on? How do you know what you are waiting for and what is simply not that important? What is important, but not now? What is important and urgent? What are things you would just like to store for next month, in 6 months or even just to review later but not now? We have not even looked at what happens in a team environment. What happens when you start working remotely. Although you can manage (If you are an island) – emails can’t:
– Track task progress
– How do you prioritise between different tasks
– How do effectively delegate and track?
– How do see company wide traction?
– How do you set deadlines?
– How do you adjust the schedule?
– How do you organise a large project via email?
In todays society this is a big problem. We don’t get 10 or 20 emails per day. We deal with hundreds and thousands of emails. I do not know how often I see email inboxes with 3K+ emails unread. As soon as you are part of a team then suddenly you have those emails to deal with. One of my clients before almost completely doing away with emails in his company was sending over 600 emails over a weekend to his colleagues. During the week he would have usually ended up with over 900+ unread emails to be dealt with.
Management and Collaboration
As a manager this is a nightmare. How do you manage your tasks and make sure that others do theirs? As C-level professionals what steps do you take to make sure that people are actually doing their work.
Statistically it shows that the average person in their lifetime looks for something. That is 365 full 24 hour days in your lifetime that you will be looking for something if it is not properly placed and marked.
Many people just leave their emails unread and deal with them one by one. Some people sort them. The problem stays these emails are treated as task.
Forwarding and responding and Email threads are hard to follow. You always have this one person that cc’s, or bcc’s half the workforce in an email. This is close to impossible to track and manage.
Information overload is a major problem. Unprocessed and well documented information is an even bigger problem. This generally becomes garbage and you seem to deal with only those things that come flying at you at a 100 miles an hour. The things that your boss puts you on the spot with. You respond to those. The major problem here is that company wide it means that possible important things fall on the ground daily. This in the long run means large amounts of work that did not get done or was not done properly and in time in the first place.
Change Your Ways
– Find a proper system
– Move away from emails as tasks management tools.
– Find generic and company wide ways to deal with tasks
– Have a way to track metrics
– Get a company wide overview of what was done and need to be done
– Move to an outcome based approach
Koneqt Management System provides this type of solution. We have successfully moved various companies off practically all internal emails to start with. They now have a central way to track what needs to be done and what was done. https://www.koneqt.com/products/work-remotely-gig-economy-virtual-office-provisioning/