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IMC57: A World Without Email

Ben was joined by Alex Coppock (Communion Architects) to discuss the path back to sanity in which Cal Newport’s book: A world Without Email offers a variety of road-tested practices to help us escape the tyranny of our inboxes in order to achieve a calmer, more intentional, and productive working life.


Email makes us miserable

“The importance of visual and audible detail is lost from a written message.”

A Study in Sarcasim Via Email

  • A study in how humour is lost within email.
  • First experiment list of topics, asked to write two sentences, normal and sarcastic
  • Emailed to another group, identify sarcastic sentances
  • Writers were over confident, predicted readers would get every choice right
  • But failed 20% of the time
  • Follow-up experiment. Have writers read their text on video.
  • Hearing sentences on a recording helped determine which sentences were sarcastic.
  • Using text misses out on both visual and audible cues

Email commonly misunderstood by reader because they don’t have the writers context

“Low friction email creates a feedback loop that spirals out of control. Like a microphone that’s too close to a speaker”

Use other tools like shared spreadsheets for notifications and status updates

The attention capital principle

  • If people trust you they find it difficult not to hear back from you right away.
  • If you are flakey then they will demand more of you.
  • The better you are at what you do the more freedom you’ll be given
  • Dedicated time for email, read and reply later (Heymail is good for this)

The Specialism Principle

Fragmented attention

“An hour of hard project and an hour of admin work gives more productivity than two hours of missed work”

Ideally get an assistant, if not be your own assistant with dedicated time

Recommended books from Alex