We Need "E-mail Free Fridays Article"-free Thursdays

October 11, 2007 at 8:27 am | Posted in Attention Management, interruption science | Leave a comment

Today’s Wall St. Journal article “A Day Without Email Is Like …” by Sue Shellenbarger (10/11/07, p. D1) offers another romp through the “Email-free Fridays” topic. I believe these articles tend to come out on Thursdays, as this one does.

This new article from Ms. Shellenbarger gives many more examples than most articles on this subject which just mention one or two. Generally the examples are tech companies (where would business science be without tech companies to try every wacky idea like email-free Fridays, chefs for the employees, casual dress codes, …?).

I find it interesting that you don’t hear about bans on other communication mechanisms. Where are the Cellphone-free Fridays? IM-free Fridays? Phone-free Fridays? Blackberry-free Fridays? It seems email has become the alpha communication mechanism and gets all the slings and arrows accordingly.

I wrote on this topic back in March and still feel that email-free Fridays may be useful as a temporary trial to raise awareness of email dependence, but not a long term strategy. I also wrote last month that I think that our need to accomplish tasks – to get things done – is challenged by the increase in information work with undefined goals and processes and that email is being used like a drug to get a hit of accomplishment when one feels he is spinning his wheels.

Cutting off email cold turkey just points out the problem, but still leaves information workers and organizations searching for a solution.

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