Dealing with information overload: email-free Fridays

As I get ready to face the coming work week, and the inevitable crush of email notes, calendar scheduling and round-robin electronic Q&A, I’m thinking that the suggestion of “email-free Fridays,” as described in this USA Today report about email overload (link via AdPulp), looks pretty good.

email_surge.gifToday about 150 engineers at chipmaker Intel (INTC) will kick off “Zero E-mail Fridays.” E-mail isn’t forbidden, but everyone is encouraged to phone or meet face-to-face. The goal is more direct, free-flowing communication and better exchange of ideas, Intel principal engineer Nathan Zeldes says in a company blog post.

E-mail-free Fridays already are the norm at cell carrier U.S. Cellular (UZG) and at order-processing company PBD Worldwide Fulfillment Services in Alpharetta, Ga.

I’ve been trying to fight email bloat by keeping the inbox closed for most of the day and checking email just twice a day, as suggested by The low-information diet (PDF). But it doesn’t always work out. It’s too easy to slip into the old habit of leaving Outlook open and checking for messages every 10 minutes or so.

How do you fight the email monster? Do any of you have a campuswide or departmental policy to shut down email from time to time? If so, I’d love to hear how it’s working.


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

4 thoughts on “Dealing with information overload: email-free Fridays”

  1. A few guys from SquaredPeg check email only at 10am and 3pm every day, but I definitely am like you. Mine is constantly open, and I do notice that it affects my productivity because I get my mind going on so many projects at once. I’m gonna give this PDF a look and see what I could do.

  2. I think a good first step would be to remove my work email account from my iPhone. I’ve noticed that I catch stuff on the weekend that I shouldn’t even be worrying about. Emails and edits can wait until Monday…. right?

  3. I keep trying to integrate most of my social media activities. For example by adding a Del widget to your blog you can have your bookmarks in your sidebar. Now everytime you bookmark something you are adding valuable content to your blog. Same can be done with Stumbleupon and many social media sites.

    That’s why widgets are becoming so popular these days.

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