Productivity

How to fall back in love with email

By Alex Wood 31 July 2015
Kate Unsworth is passionate about winning the battle against email
Summary

Overwhelmed by email? Kate Unsworth has the answers to take you back to inbox zero.

Kate Unsworth is the founder of Kovert Designs, a design studio the creates beautiful wearable technology to help free people from digital distraction and is one of the leading thinkers in the mindfulness movement that is taking the tech world by storm.

Don’t miss our interview where she reveals how she discovered mindfulness and why Apple’s smartwatch could be its biggest failure

61% of people admit they’re addicted to their digital devices and when it comes to our work lives, email is clearly to blame.

Unsworth is passionate about winning the battle against email. Send her one and you will quickly receive an out of office telling you:

Her pledge to be more productive has seen her inbox traffic reduce by 70%. Do the same for your inbox by following her top tips for finding digital balance.

Kate Unsworth’s tips for managing your inbox

1. Think twice before you hit send – emails only breed more emails. The onus is on you to send fewer in order to receive fewer. Can you be more considered and send one concise email covering 5 points, as opposed to 5 separate emails?

2. Don’t CC unless absolutely necessary. In general, I ask my team to only CC me if it requires my action. ‘FYI’ emails are so last decade – let’s be smarter about the way we communicate and keep each other in the loop.

3. Respect other people’s digital space as you do their physical space. You wouldn’t go round to someone’s home at 1am asking if they’d read that report. And you wouldn’t expect someone to run you through their budget while they’re on holiday. The argument that ‘it’s their choice when they check their email’ doesn’t fly anymore – yes you’re technically right, but that doesn’t mean you’re being considerate. We all know how irresistible it is to have a quick check on a Sunday morning – email is far too accessible.

4. Whenever possible, try to leave emails in your drafts until it feels appropriate to send. Or even better, wait to tell them in person. Human connection is the most fundamental aspect of feeling alive, and digital communications take us away from this.

5. And finally – re-assess the concept of ‘urgency’ – we often fire emails off left, right and centre because we want immediate results. But sometimes, waiting another couple days until you see that person face to face and can have a real human conversation with them does far more for your cause in the long-run, speeding your project along ten-fold (a 20 min conversation is roughly equivalent to 10 back and forth emails, which could be drawn out over weeks, and take far longer than 20mins total to write).

Read next: How email took over our lives