Email: The Silent Killer of Success

Library Info


Let me start by saying that I'm not against email. In fact, if used correctly it can be a wonderfully productive asset. But email is just a tool and should be seen in that light. Unfortunately, all too often we become slaves to the machine. We constantly check every single email as it comes in. We bounce out of our real work and into something probably trivial.

Every time we switch our focus, we suffer a performance penalty. The more intently we were concentrating before the interruption the longer it takes to return. The penalty for jumping on that exciting new email, reading and perhaps even replying, could be as much as half an hour.

Now, most people will not suffer a 30 minute penalty per email. But they will suffer a penalty as they switch from their productive task, to email and then back again. This is why we only deal with emails in batches.

The Killer

According to Mimecast we spend an average of 4 hours a day using email. This is about 50% of our working day. Over a third of people regularly send and receive email outside working hours. You might spend more or less time per day on email. But I think you would like to spend less time on your email and more time on productive work.

Consider that only 3% of emails are considered critical, which means that almost all of them can wait. Anything that is so important that it cannot wait a couple of hours, should be communicated in a more effective way than email.

The Solution

Use these 10 tips or rules to boost your business and career success:

  1. Use SPAM filters on the server and in your email program.
  2. Don’t “Reply All” and remove everyone you can.
  3. One topic, one email.
  4. Single touch emails, read - process - file/delete. Only flag if you must.
  5. Delete as much as you can as quickly as possible.
  6. Use rules to filter your inbox, especially for newsletters and industry content.
  7. Email 3 times a day for 15 - 20 minutes only:
    1. First thing, e.g. arriving at work (9:00am).
    2. At lunch, e.g. just before lunch (12:45pm).
    3. End of day, e.g. just before going home (4:45pm).
  8. Only email when you have time and a clear head.
  9. Avoid mailing lists, only tell those who need to know.
  10. Archive every month.

If people know you will not reply to an email at any time of the day, they will sent you more targeted and specific emails.

The Promise

Effective use of email, is part of an effective communications strategy.

Consider the recipients of your email, they are busy people too.

Use the right tool for the job. Email, might not be it!


Communication, including email and the techniques, tools and specialist training as all specialist areas for DVANA. Our innovative systems for meetings and email set us apart. We’re more than happy to help you with improvements you would like to make to:

  • meeting efficiency or effectiveness
  • email processes and procedures
  • time planning and prioritization
  • integrating communication methods into business processes


This is a thought leadership article, which supports DVANA's world leading insights into business and commerce.

This article Email: The Silent Killer of Success, originally published here, was syndicated on LinkedIn (