Does E-mail Make You Stupid?


It’s not that I’m looking for an excuse, but I do think an article from last month’s Entrepreneur makes sense.

According to “E-mail is Making You Stupid,” “The research is overwhelming. Constant e-mail interruptions make you less productive, less creative and–if you’re e-mailing when you’re doing something else–just plain dumb.”

The article is written by Joe Robinson, who has a vested interest in believing e-mail makes us stupid because he sells a CD called “The Email Overload Survival Kit.”

But the point is that constant interruptions do slow us down, do disrupt our thinking process. While I think it is important to take an occasional break from heavy-lifting-type work, the constant demands of e-mail is too much. I’m thnking of implementing some of the tips that Robinson suggests:

Climbing Out of the Inbox

E-mail multiplies like rabbits, each new message generating more and more replies. Want fewer distractions? Send fewer e-mails. Here are some helpful rules.

• Turn off all visual and sound alerts that announce new mail.

• Check e-mail two to four times a day at designated times and never more often than every 45 minutes.

• Don’t let e-mail be the default communication device. Communicating by phone or face-to-face saves time and builds relationships.

• Respond immediately only to urgent issues. Just because a message can be delivered instantly does not mean you must reply instantly.

• Severely restrict use of the reply-all function.

• Put “no reply necessary” in the subject line when you can. No one knows when an e-conversation is over without an explicit signal.

• Resist your reply reflex. Don’t send e-mails that say “Got it” or “Thanks.”

• Use automatic out-of-office messages to carve out focused work time, such as: “I’m on deadline with a project and will be back online after 4 p.m.”

I was gonna write more about this, but because I heard the e-mail sound that Outlook makes, I got distracted and forgot my next point.

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