Why We Need a Dedicated Email Day
I used to be the kind of person who religiously maintained Inbox Zero. I’d respond to emails within 30 minutes, categorize the important ones for my records, and delete all the junk. That person disappeared when the pandemic engulfed my entire life. I now have a whopping 4,154 emails across five regularly used accounts. Yikes. I really let myself go.
But here’s the thing: I don’t know a single person who loves email. I don’t wake up and think, “Wow! I can’t wait to see what emails are in my inbox!” nor do I spend countless hours refreshing my email. In fact, I dread it. Even the good emails. Maybe there was a point in time where emails were delightful, but frankly as a Gen Z kid, that has never been my experience. To email is to work. Period. And given how days and months keep blending into one another now, there has never been a stronger moment for setting up an Email Day.
Email Day is, you guessed it, a day devoted to email. This is the day where you initiate contact with the people you’ve been meaning to, reply to the folks who have been waiting on you forever, comb through the inbox for important emails, and follow up on emails that you’ve sent. I know, it sounds like this is what you should be doing every day, but as we all know, that’s not realistic. We will just keep pushing it back: “Oh, I’ll email Jonathan tomorrow.” Tomorrow becomes next week and then it’s somehow December. Having a set day (or two!) each week where you save a few hours devoted to email will prevent you from having this problem. (And for those of you who are simply too overwhelmed with months-old emails, you can take it up a notch and participate in ReplyAll’s Email Debt Forgiveness Day, which is Email Day on steroids.)
That’s not to say you shouldn’t check or respond to urgent emails. We live in a society here. Having email notifications on and/or periodically checking email every day is important, especially if it’s related to work or school. It’s a matter of respect. However, it’s a good habit to keep yourself accountable by having built-in time during your week where email is your sole focus. It guarantees that any missed emails will get caught and that you will get replies you need to get shit done. With most of us working from home, we’re devoid of the daily structure that is so integral to email. Creating our own structure might be the only way to keep afloat these days.
Now, that’s out of the way, if we can get around to establishing a No Email Day…