Secret CIO

What a wonderful idea – ban emails for at least one day a week. That is what one company’s solution to email overload is.

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By  Secret CIO Published  May 6, 2007

What a wonderful idea – ban emails for at least one day a week. That is what one company’s solution to email overload is.

Even better - ban emails on every day with an ‘s’ in it. That would leave two days for email – one of which would be a Friday. So there would be good chance that anyone who went to all the effort on that day at least be serious about it, or at least, if not, will have had to work on a weekend before I hit the delete button.

The other one of course is Monday. I’m away from desk most of the day at meetings and leave it up to my PA to clear all my spam. At the moment I do not have the luxury of her services all the time, so I have to sort out my own email for the rest of the week.

I’m not exceptional in that I find at least half my email is spam. That is despite my company’s ISP having installed anti-spam software, the company itself bocks unwanted mail and I enable my Outlook to filter those that might get through.

The fact that all three defenses fail doesn’t inspire much faith in the security software that’s installed and used at all levels. But there are an estimated 170 billion – yes billion – emails going around the world every day. By my calculations that’s nearly 3 billion a minute. It’s impossible to get all of them, they say.

But surely ones marked –‘check this out’ that arrive at my desk hourly from she-who- must- be-obeyed are easy enough to stop without blocking all her emails that arrive ordering me to pick up a box of bird seed on my way home.

The ‘check this out’ type is emailed to all her cronies as well - and there are a lot of them. All of whom feel it obligatory to respond with remarks on how funny it was and has she – and all the other crones (sic) – seen this one?

The mind boggles. Her missive alone is responsible for generating most of those billions of emails – well a good many of them at least.

But back to the ban. Studies show that employees spend four hours a day reading and sending emails. Experts now urge senders to treat email as second class mail.

If you have anything urgent and relevant to send – send on SMS. Yes, sure. Just like the one I received from some obscure Dubai store the other day at 2.30am urging me to shop 'til I drop. One thing is certain – I dropped the idea of any shopping from that particular store. The barrage of these text messages from shops, banks and various other businesses I've never set foot in is incessant.

But I would also urge you to treat email as second class mail fit only for advertising and allowing bored housewives to send the latest funnies or whatever around the world.

My solution is if you’ve got anything urgent to send – use snail mail. Alright, it might take a day or so to reach you, but if it’s really urgent you can always pick up the phone. I think I’ll drop my mates an email to see what they think.

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