Email Hamster Wheel

Email Hamster Wheel | Whitepaper | EzidoesitA. A. Milne who wrote Winnie the Pooh said "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain and long words bother me". He may very well have been talking about people in business today who are driven to answer emails.

Email is the number one form of communication in business today but it can also be a distraction from work.

Internet marketing guru Seth Godin says on his blog "When you're done with your email queue, are you done?" Or do you continue to email and respond to email, playing email ping pong, back and forth caught like a hamster running around a wheel getting nowhere?

A joint study by Microsoft and the University of Illinois found that when workers interrupted themselves to answer an email it took on average 17 minutes to get back to the task they were working on. Nathan Zeldes (2) former productivity scientist with Intel and founder of the Information Overload Research Group says Knowledge Workers lose about 2 days a week on being ineffective. That’s a 40% loss of productivity!

The Ezidoesit Enterprise Edition software has a feature called EziAnswer. This option allows the user to delay answering emails but stops these emails then being lost in an Outlook inbox full of other emails. So how does this work? The EziAnswer window displayed below shows emails waiting to be replied to in the virtual inbox.

Use EziAnswer to bundle all of these micro-tasks together and do them as one task. Drag an email that needs to be answered and drop it onto the white colour on the Elevator Bar. The email is moved from your inbox to a virtual inbox. This means less email in the inbox which lowers Cognitive Overload and reduces the risk of you losing an email.

In Ezidoesit Settings and on the EziAnswer tab set the simple rules to control how EziAnswer will work for you. Two reminders a day can be set; for example at 11:30am and 4:30pm. You will get a reminder email at these times showing you a list of emails to answer. Double click on the white square and the virtual inbox displays showing the emails you need to answer. You can now do everything with these emails that you could if they were in your inbox (reply, forward etc). When you have finished replying to an email there is an option to move the email out of the virtual inbox to another folder of your choosing.

How Ezidoesit reduces Cognitive Overload

 Cognitive Overload or Information Overload makes people act like a deer or rabbit that is frozen in the headlights of a car. An Outlook email user gets to this point by having an inbox that is overloaded and full of email and they cannot make a decision on which work to start on. With Ezidoesit you can -

  • Quickly and simply schedule work into the calendar and then work off the calendar
  • Answer your emails as one task rather than lots of small micro tasks – user the EziAnswer option
  • Archive newsletter type emails so you can read them later

EziAnswer is also a good place to put emails you want to follow up on at a later date e.g. you made a request to someone for an action to be performed and you want to ensure that you check up that the action did happen.

Further details on Ezidoesit Enterprise, Professional, and Workgroup are available on the website at – www.ezidoesit.com together with a free 30 day trial.

  1. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/08/inbox-culture.html 
  2. http://www.nzeldes.com/index.htm