Turn off the Firehose!

Chris Ronzio

Let’s face it. Every day, we are bombarded with emails, texts, phone calls, voicemails, newsletters, magazines, offers, coupons, and other communication that we didn’t expect to receive. It’s a constant fire hose of information, and without knowing it, we can spend hours sifting through useless crap on autopilot before realizing the sun is setting, and the day was largely wasted.

If you want to get things done, you have to ignore the fire hose for good periods of the day. But if it doesn’t stop spraying, you’ll wind up with a horrible backlog of stuff to sort through, like Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty.

So, don’t ignore the fire hose, turn it off!

  1. Start with unroll.me – It will help you unsubscribe to useless newsletters and bundle everything else into one elegant daily digest.
  2. Use filters in your email platform to route emails from certain senders past your inbox (especially in Gmail). This works great for email receipts and order confirmations. You just placed the order, you don’t need to review it immediately.
  3. Tell the co-worker or employee that emails you a dozen times a day to send one daily recap email instead. Have them start a draft in the morning, add to it all day, and call you if and only if something is urgent.
  4. Reduce frequency of social media alerts. Instant notifications are instant distractions! I like the weekly digest, when available.
  5. Set vacation reminders (even for a non-vacation day) when you really need to get things done. When someone receives one, they’ll think twice about emailing you again, and they won’t expect you to respond as quickly.

Last, find something fun to do with all that time you just saved.

Showing 2 comments
  • Aaron

    Message received. 🙂 I like the idea of the daily digest email but doesn’t that make it harder to respond to? Does 1 longer email with 3 issues make for a more convoluted email thread than 3 short emails with 1 issue each? It’s probably just purist in me, but that’s usually the driving force behind the multiple emails. I’ll try harder to hit send only once per day!

    • Chris Ronzio
      Chris Ronzio

      Great point. Jamming tons of different issues into one massive email is easier to digest, but possibly harder to respond to. To clarify, issues that are bound to create long discussion threads are better handled by phone or in-person meetings. Small updates or single-answer questions can more easily be lumped together.

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