Apparently the problem of ’email addiction’ has got so bad amongst some permanently-connected workers and Blackberry toting bosses that some “executive coach” dudess in Pennsylvania has come up with her “12 steps to cure e-mail addiction” plan.
The 12 step plan was devised by executive coach Marsha Egan after several of her clients revealed how their email addiction was taking them right off the rails.
One exec found he failed to impress a client on the golf course after he simply had to check email on his BlackBerry after every single shot, while another was unable to walk past a computer – any computer – without reaching for the ‘check email’ button.
One seriously twitchy email addict was so desperate to receive email, that he regularly sent himself messages just to check that the email system was working.
Thankfully ol’Marsha’s on hand to help cure these poor souls, and with an eye to opening up future business opportunities, she wasn’t one to underplay the ‘problem’ for big businesses.
Ratcheting her hyperbole control up to eleven, she warned that, “There is a crisis in corporate America, but a lot of CEOs don’t know it.”.
“They haven’t figured out how expensive it is,” she added.
That’s as maybe, but we suspect clients who need someone to tell them how to sort out their own email might soon learn how expensive her “executive coaching” courses might be.
The Twelve Steps (our comments in italics):
1. Admit that e-mail is managing you. Let go of your need to check e-mail every ten minutes.
What?! And miss out the prospect of being the first to tell the office a freshly emailed joke?!
2. Commit to keeping your inbox empty.
Oh right. That’s a bit like saying, ‘commit to only taking one phone call a day’ or ‘only have the one beer in the pub.’
3. Create files where you can put inbox material that needs to be acted on.
We’ve already done that. And now it’s full of hundreds of unanswered mails.
4. Make broad headings for your filing system so that you have to spend less time looking for filed material.
Surely it’s easier just to use the email program’s search function?
5. Deal immediately with any e-mail that can be handled in two minutes or less but create a file for mails that will take longer.
Oh great! Let’s make another big directory for unanswered mails!
6. Set a target date to empty your in box. Don’t spend more than an hour at a time doing it.
An hour? A week more like!
7. Turn off automatic send/receive.
Are you mad? Without a regular stream of office jokes and links to pointless website distractions the office would grind to a halt.
8. Establish regular times to review your e-mail.
We already do that and it’s set to ‘whenever we can’
9. Involve others in conquering your addiction.
People! Quick! Stop us opening this email!
10. Reduce the amount of e-mail you receive.
Er, hello? How do we do that? Go around unplugging our co-workers computers?
11. Save time by using only one subject per e-mail; delete extra comments from forwarded e-mail, and make the subject line detailed.
We’re lucky if we even manage to include anything in the email subject line. Most usually say something like, “FW:FW:FW:”
12. Celebrate taking a new approach to e-mail.
That’s the best idea you’ve come up with so far. Let’s get down the pub!