My "Out Of Office" Reply

I am heading out for the Summit at Sea this afternoon and will be facilitating a workshop next week, so I spent a few minutes this morning pondering the dreaded "Out Of Office" message.

Usually I put a very quick two lines that cover:

  • I am currently doing x. (I like to enroll people in what I'm doing and provide a link to the workshop, leadership program, event, etc. so they can learn more about it.)
  • I won't be looking at email again until x. (Simple.)

Today, inspired by my friend Neal Bicker, I decided I'm adding a new section at the end of my "Out Of Office" message from now on:

Email Fast Facts

  • Workers on average make it only 11 minutes into a project before being distracted by email, and it takes workers 16-25 minutes to refocus on their work after dealing with email. (UC Irvine)
  • Your IQ falls 10 points when you're fielding constant emails, the same loss you'd experience if you missed an entire night's sleep and more than double the loss of someone smoking marijuana. (University of London)
  • Workers spend 28% of their work week on email, meaning that's 13 fewer hours we can spend being productive. (McKinsey)

Living in a state of continuous partial attention robs you of your true potential. Maximize the power of your brain by being more intentional about your use of email.

Teach people how to work with you.

If you use email in a horrible way, people will use email in a horrible way with you.

All my project work is now managed through Trello, Slack, or similar tools, so I know that's where the important stuff is. More and more, now email is something I can further ignore as I take control of my schedule vs. let it be the other way around.

What do you do?