Duke B-school

Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational and others and professor at nearby Duke University, asked his students to go without email for 48 hours.

We all know that email is broken — the question is how many of us are willing to experiment living without it for a while? Last year I asked my students to stop using email for 48 hours, and they all broke down within the first day.

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Ariely tells this tale in the context of posting a link to Steve Kovach‘s Business Insider article “I stopped checking email for a week, and now I realize I’ve been using it wrong for years”.

Kovach, who is mysteriously a fan of Outlook, also turned off Twitter for the week. In the process, he learned about Slack and that “fewer than 5% of [his] emails [received during the week] mattered.” This last is his final sentence. Earlier he says, correctly, that less than 3% of the Inbox was useful.

I do the math and get even less that matter. Kovach reports he received 1,511 messages of which 44 were worth reading or 2.9% and only 5 (.3% of the total or 11.36% of the interesting mail) required a response.

Kovach notices Mailbox — not the wonderful Gmail Inbox app which goes unmentioned — and Outlook’s QuickFilter as two notable attempts to tame the midden pile that is his and our inboxes. Kovach is a great fan of QuickFilter on his phone not having reviewed MailBox or providing a link (I did just above so you can try it if you still use email).

Slack is the preferred communications for his work at BI. Kovach “can see Slack (or something like it) completely replacing intra-office email one day.”

Of course there are more solutions arriving everyday. Follow #nomail on Twitter. Watch the upcoming video sessions with @elsua and @claireburge.