Friday, March 10, 2006

E-mail everywhere

Over the last few months, my job has slowly devolved from that of Strategic Alliances Manager whose responsibility is to maintain productive working relationships with my company’s partners, which drives increased revenue from my channel to Strategic Alliances Manager whose primary function is writer/responder of email. I have responsibilities outside of email (see the first description of my job). Productive, revenue-producing relationships cannot be created and maintained solely through email.

While my job is primarily tactical in nature, there are certain strategic goals that I must accomplish. As I try to schedule my time to include strategy development and deployment, I find myself doing only one thing all day, every day – writing damn emails. And even though it seems this is all I do every day, at the end of each day and week, I have more unread emails in my mailbox than I had when the day/week began. I work within a time management system in which everything is scheduled in my calendar. I find myself skipping most scheduled items in favor of email (there are already four hours each day scheduled exclusively for email). I go to meetings, and come out with more to-do items that generally require communication via email. That’s if I even get to the to-do items from meetings because I’m always ANSWERING EMAILS!

I know I’m not alone in this, but I had to vent. I feel like I’ve gotten absolutely nothing done this week. But I’ve got lots of emails to show for my time. 146 emails sent so far this week, to be exact. That’s only sent, not received. There are another 32 from this week that are due responses (11 from earlier weeks). That comes out to about 4.45 per hour. Doesn’t sound bad, right? But these are all emails that require some sort of work or research prior to response. And this doesn’t take into account the 8.5 hours of meetings I had this week, pushing the total up to 5.65 emails per hour. That’s 11 minutes per email to read and respond. Sure, some are quick – “yes”, “no”, “what the hell are you talking about?” – responses. But most aren’t. And that’s why I’m frustrated.

So, if you’re someone with whom I usually communicate via email on a personal basis and you’ve noticed that I just don’t reply as much anymore, now you know why. I’m sure it will change. I’ll get a handle on it and figure out how to manage it. I’ve been through this before. It’s not the first time or the last, and I know I’m not the only one (here or at any other business). In the meantime, though, this is why you may not get a response to every email or you may not hear from me as often.

- While I was writing this, I could have answered three emails -

Update: it's now 5:45pm, and I've sent another 28 emails since this original post. Going home now.

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