Is too much email ruining your life? Are you struggling with information overload? Are you not as productive as you would like to be? If the answer is ‘Yes!’ then perhaps you should try taking part in the 8th annual global ‘No Email Day‘ which will take place on 8/8/18.
The premise sounds simple enough – avoid email for 24hrs so you can be more productive, social and collaborative at work! All other methods of communication: phone, SMS, face-to-face, social media, or handwritten notes are fine. It’s just email that isn’t. A crazy idea? Maybe not…
What’s it all about?
The first No Email Day on 11/11/11 went viral around the world after my original 9-page manifesto was read over 30,000 times on Slideshare following a story published on tech news site The Next Web. (At the time of writing it’s had over 60,000 views).
Subsequent weeks saw thousands of people blogging, Tweeting and sharing the manifesto around the world. The campaign received international support and media coverage by the BBC Radio 5 Live, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Likehacker and The Sunday Times and IBM Benelux even launched their own social media campaign ‘Outside The Inbox‘ to coincide with No Email Day.
Around 300 people actively took part in No Email Day 11/11/11 to varying degrees of success and many more have continued to join in each year with further media coverage from the likes of Huffington Post, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 along the way. The campaign seems to have split people’s opinion 50/50 on whether it’s a good or bad idea, genius or crazy. However, it’s clear that there are many people out there who say they need a day like this to help them focus on doing the ‘real work’ rather than just the ‘busy work’.
Is it really possible?
Admittedly not everyone will be able to go a full 24hrs without email but the main purpose of the campaign is to get people to think about how they are communicating, how often and whether it’s the best way to work or if they are actually creating more work for themselves and the recipients.
But could you really live without email, even just for a few hours? Former IBM Social Media Evangelist Luis Suarez has been living in ‘A World Without Email‘ since February 2008 and both he and Paul Jones (University of North Carolina) are key supporters of No Email Day and of replacing email with social media (see their great videos below).
Thierry Breton (Chairman and CEO of IT consultancy Atos) even declared that they would stop sending internal email completely and Matt Cutts (Google’s Head of Webspam Team) even blogged about his need to ditch email for 30 days.
Although most No Email Day supporters are individuals or small companies, big businesses are also starting to see the value in encouraging both their staff and customers to join in with teams from Sage, Microsoft and Powwownow taking part in No Email Day 2014, with many more following on 5/5/15, 6/6/16 and 7/7/17.