One thought on “End Email Addiction – Take Control of Your Inbox and Your Life!

  1. toddfonseca

    I received a great question on another site regarding this article and wanted to add it here as well.

    Question –
    Another great article, Todd. I love the suggestions that you have offered to kick the habit; however being a young clinical research professional, is there a feasible solution to being “on call” 24/7 to still maintaining our out of office persona? Peers of my age still feel that we need to “pay our dues” which includes being constantly available. Again, thank you for the article!

    Response –
    Hi Marin, thanks so much for a great question. I have a few questions. The first is around the expectation of “paying our dues” – is this an explicit expectation of management or an implied one through the culture you are working in? Organizations want the work to get done and done effectively, my experience has been that the longer people work in a day, the less effective they are because of burnout, attention lapses and such. This is such a powerful question that

    I may develop an entire post on this.

    Another question is – what do you need to be available 24/7 for? What specifically – are they calls from sites, physicians, etc. Most issues can be managed w/in 24 hours time which the once a day email check allows. However, there are situations where urgent response is required. But for urgent issues, email is usually one of the worst vehicles. If you can identify critically and specifically what you need to be available 24/7 (emergency use deviation approval, questions on inclusion criteria for a patient on the table, etc.) then have these brought to you not through email but a more appropriate method – like text, call to cell phone etc. Most people aren’t “on” 24/7 because they sleep at some point, but again urgent issues can be handled through a cell call if needed. These are pretty rare and don’t account for the loss in productivity associated with 80% of emails.

    The issue with email is everything has the same urgency so you have to wade through all of the non-value added stuff to get to the good stuff. This brings me to my third suggestion. If you absolutely must look at email more frequently for those urgent 24/7 items (again make sure you know and are clear for yourself what those are) set up email rules in your inbox to automatically filter them into a separate urgent folder (they can be based on email addresses from sites, key words, etc.). I do this for contracts needing signing and have just that folder open so I don’t see all of the other clutter in my inbox but can address a contract when it comes in.

    But the first question is really most critical around expectations and paying dues. Because this mentality never really stops. That is, the dues are never finish being paid where you suddenly turn off the 24/7. Stay tuned for more on this and thanks for the great question!

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