OKAY, be honest, how many of you are "on top" of your emails, where only today's emails are in your inbox?
Or are you like most of us, where your inbox is out of control and emails are coming in faster than you can respond, action or delete them?
I remember a time many years ago when we were promised that email was going to be the best productivity tool we would ever use.
However, this great time-saver now threatens to be the biggest time-waster for the very people it was going to help....
We were promised speed and efficiency.
However, I find that I can lose hours a day just reading, filing, moving, responding to, moving again, writing and sending emails.
The strange thing is, many times it would have been faster to pick up the telephone and talk to the person we were emailing.
We've all done it, sent numerous emails back and forth just to arrange a meeting, when a 60-second phone call would have done the trick.
We were promised improved business relationships via ease of communication, however, there is now an expectation that a response to an email will be forthcoming immediately, after all, it is instant communication.
If this expectation is not met, business relationships can actually be damaged rather than enhanced.
We were also promised the benefits of 24-7 access to manage our electronic communication with the availability of emails on our smart phones.
What a fantastic idea.
We can now be interrupted constantly...
Emails don't care if it is after hours, a Sunday, a public holiday or if you are on annual leave.
We all know how we dread the first day back at work after holidays simply because we have to sift through hundreds of emails, so instead we allow ourselves the distraction during our personal time of addressing them as they come in.
It seems that this productivity tool has in fact rendered much of our day as unproductive.
Time spent on email is not time spent with our clients and customers or carrying out the activities we need to do to be successful.
So what's the answer? Real communication.
Let's limit our use of email and instead use the telephone, or even, dare I say it, face-to-face conversations to communicate our message.
Real-time conversations take time too, but they can actually be faster to clear up questions and to ensure understanding, and they build relationships.