In his 2002 song “Darkness,” Peter Gabriel states “I have my fears / But they do not have me.” Email is the best and worst thing to happen to business in the last 25 years. Best because it’s simple, fast, free, and accessible instantly from just about anywhere on the planet. Alternatively, because it is so simple, fast, and free, it’s also become so overly abused, which is why it’s also the worst (let’s all remember that for hundreds of years before 1996, businesses ran just fine without email).
For too long, email controlled my life – with dozens of folders overflowing with messages, dings and buzzes interrupting just about everything I did, and lengthy threads involving too many recipients and replies. While Outlook was not my employer (as far as I knew, I had never received a paycheck from Microsoft), it was the focus of most of my days in the office, and when I was out of the office, whichever PDA/smartphone I was carrying that year would fill in until the next morning.
My email had me, I did not have email.