“You reply to the easiest emails first. As your inbox count goes down, the difficulty level goes up”

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Chris Dixon created a stir on Twitter hen neith these two sentences that we couldn’t help but use as a headline for today’s blog post, as it points out once more the daily chore of reading the pile of emails that keep adding up. The struggle to achieve Inbox dnetdneero seems the greatest possible achievement for the digital citizen. Luckily, it turns out that you’re not the problem. The problem is email itself. But there are ways to fix this.

Most of the tips and tricks that promise to bring law and order into your messy Inbox have largely proven counterproductive or impossible to follow in the long run. I keep finding myself in Chris Dixon’s shoes over and over again. I feel the pressure of quickly responding to email, and I like people who do that, but boy, am I always doing the easy stuff first.

The rule to reply to an email as soon as you can is broken on every possible day. People tend to reply to their close friend within seven hours after getting the email, a paper written by Brian Uzzi and Stefan Wuchty shows. A professional email takes even more to respond, nearly 11 hours, same study shows. When we need to write to a person who we barely know, the time needed is usually 50 hours, that is more than two days.

No wonder the lawyer Lawrence Lessig declared “email bankruptcy” to all his senders, after receiving 200 emails every day. This happened in 2004, a year when the total numbers of email messages sent a day was only a fraction compared to what is happening now.

Not being able to answer to emails in a decent time frame is only part of the problem. “People feel they’re being ignored” when their messages are unaswered, Judith Kallos from netmanners.com, a site that deals with online etiquette, told The New York Times.

The better way

Talking about the evolution of the organization, Jacob Morgan, author, speaker and futurist sums it all up in this article: the business environment needs to leave behind old practices in order to strive in the digital area. In respect to knowledge sharing, in the same article we learn that: “In other words, your entire education and learning is dependent on the organization. However we are seeing this evolve so that any employee can educate or learn from any other employee. This is largely possible through technology such as internal collaboration platforms and social networks.”

Dealing with the same topic, Dion Hinchcliffe notes in his “How digital collaboration will evolve in 2015” article for ZDNet that “e-mail is increasingly becoming more of a notification channel and less the place for serious, long-term collaboration around vital business information and processes.”

So yes, part of the solution is the transition to collaborative tools that help employees with everyday tasks, supporting them in becoming more efficient. The succes story behind Slack comes to support this need of cutting down as much as possible on emails, suggesting not only that there’s place for improvements, but also that users adoption is getting better with Enterprise 2.0.

We believe a tool like Quandora is a great addition to a messaging app like Slack as it supports organizations in their quest for becoming more productive by capturing, centralizing and communicating knowledge among co-workers, unburdening your email, your wikis and intranets with questions that remain unanswered – hence our integration with Slack.

What’s your take? Is there a one-size-fits-all when it comes to improving productivity and align with today’s digital workplace demands? Share your experiences and, as always…

Happy Knowledge Sharing! 🙂

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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