Is the demand of e-mail getting uncomfortable? Would you ever consider willfully ignoring some e-mail because of this growing demand? How about setting an auto-reply such as the following?
Due to the volume of email I receive, I no longer personally review every message. If you are interested in learning more about why I have decided to set limits on my email time, you can read this [link to this blog post or one you draft yourself]. If you do not receive a further reply within 72 hours, please assume that I have had to focus on other professional or personal priorities at this time. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
That's just what Alexandra Samuel has done (see her HBR post about the rationale).
A stunning practice for sure...take a look at the comments!
One takes on vacation out-of-office auto-replies: "Sorry, but I'm on vacation until xx/xx/xxxx. When I get back, I'll delete all the flood of email that arrived while I was gone, so if this note is important, please send it to me again after that date. Thanks..."
To this, Samuel responded that the "I'm out of the office but will read your e-mail when I return" auto-reply is actually "the undoing of the psychological benefits of a vacation!"
Of course, there's also the perception, if you don't respond to an e-mail, that the communication (or dare say, even the relationship) is not of interest or of little value to you. While that may be the case sometimes, Samuel makes note that with e-mail, senders are pushing demands of communication onto the recipient. Send an e-mail and you're demanding the receiver spend some of his or her valuable time dealing with it. The problem is, e-mails are so easy to send that people are increasingly throwing tasks and to-dos around to others with little thought of the consequences upon the communications overload of the recipient.
Certainly few PlusPoint readers will engage in such an extreme e-mail ignoring campaign (I'm guessing), but what do you think about the practice in general? Do you think it would help you?