Do you remember the best email you’ve ever written?
Seriously, think about it.
What is the most unforgettable, amazing, memorable, hall of fame-worthy email you have ever written?
You may remember some email you received that gave some amazing news. Maybe you recall an email that brought terrible news. You may not remember the actual email. But you at least remember the meaning of that message, right? According to the Gmail sent folder of my startup of three years, I have sent 9,549 emails. I have to remember some of those.
Keep thinking hard.
The truth is, you don't remember the unavoidable subject line or the dearth of paragraphs you wrote. You don’t remember the incredible craftsmanship of the verbs and adjectives you pounded by keystroke.
You don’t remember the cherry-on-top conclusion you finished with or the well-manicured email signature you included after your name.
Related: Beware the Promise to 'Fix' Email
Time for an email intervention?
A post on First Round Capital's blog states, "The average tech CEO works about 300 days a year, 14 hours a day." It continues to say 30 percent of that time is spent on email. That's 1,400 hours a year spent on email.
Email is an incredibly powerful tool. It lets people connect across the globe and accelerate communication. Thanks to email, a little design startup in South Dakota can do business with Fortune 500 companies around the world.
But should a CEO spend 30 percent of his time in his inbox?
After months of habit building, I've created a morning routine that protects me from email for the first hour. I start by putting my phone in the other room so that when I wake up, my morning routine doesn't involve reading the latest barrage of email. I try to get through my morning routine of drinking water, stretching, having coffee, showering and getting ready for the day before I dive into my inbox. Start off your day on the right foot.
Every day I still find myself falling victim to email by 10 a.m. and then being a prisoner of my inbox throughout the day.
I don't want to know how much time is wasted simply clicking the Gmail tab in my browser to see if I've got mail. On the surfacem checking email is an innocent addiction that people justify by telling themselves they are being productive and "getting things done" by deleting and responding to emails one by one.
When people truly consider the amount of time spent dealing with their inbox, they discover their addiction is not so innocent and is kidnapping their attention and energy every day.
Stop treating email like it's the most important thing in your life. Don’t let your inbox dictate your day. Little red notification numbers do not dictate your success or failure. Email processing should not be the most important part of your day.
Besides the 9,549 emails I've sent out, my inbox shows another 16,431 emails received.
Say, I can't remember the best email I've ever written and neither can you.
It's not worth it.