Leadership blogging tips 5: Downgrade the in-box

Bloggers often teach themselves to ignore their email inbox.

In writing the occasional blog-post / tweet / Facebook status update, we learn to choose what message we want to put out today – and the value of grabbing people’s attention with a short classy bit of profundity. And we start to lose patience with others who don’t.

Yet we all still have colleagues who get communication and sending an email mixed up in their heads.

There are plenty of useful tips and tools online telling you how to manage your email (this one includes the advice to “…start using social media back channels Instead of emailing everything, try sending quick questions via DM or Facebook.”), but even the Time Management Ninja stops short of saying “ignore your inbox.”

Surely this sidesteps the fact that – often –  responding to boring emails  = discouraging better communicators.

If you are getting all of your information from your immediate peers at work and from the trade press, you may be blocking off the most useful channels in favour of incumbents. For this reason, it’s important to be seen as someone who gets information from social media.

Again, this doesn’t need to create work for you. A clever use of Google Reader, Facebook or Twitter can keep a wide range of sources at your fingertips. By following trusted recommendations (and gleefully announcing that you don’t always read emails!) it can act like a dreck-filter. Some of the most useful information will come from other people’s breadcrumb trails.

Like blogging, peripheral vision tools such as Facebook and Twitter are productivity tools. If they don’t reduce your workload, they’re not worth bothering with.



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