Saturday, April 10, 2021

A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload (Cal Newport)

Many people's hours at work are spent triaging cluttered email inboxes, trying desperately to get it under control. “Work” for some has become synonymous with the number of emails that are sent out over the course of a day. Emails fly around at all hours of day and night in an attempt to keep up with customer inquiries, internal questions from colleagues, and simply reading the latest memo from the CEO.

Author Cal Newport argues that your work shouldn’t be defined by your inbox but that it should be simplified, diversified, and process-oriented. His book, A World Without Email: Reimagining Word in an Age of Communication Overload, addresses his philosophy for better, more productive, and more meaningful work. The book is broken down into two parts: The first focuses on the problem of workplace communication and the second on solutions to fix and improve office work and productivity.  Newport argues that part of the shift in how we work starts with us and part of it also lies with the team that we work with. He suggests ideas such as dedicated email response time, “deep work”, and more focused meetings as three solutions that can be incorporated.

People in office life and knowledge economy jobs would do well to read this book and hopefully adopt some of Newport’s suggestions to make their work life better and more efficient.