Controlling the Inbox Monster
Seven tips for managing the e-mail nightmare. How do most CPAs manage their digital distractions? Join the survey; get the answers.
Octoberr 4, 2007
by Rick Telberg/On Finance
E-mail may be the greatest communications tool since the telephone. But it’s probably the single biggest productivity killer. Who’d have thunk it?
Tim Ferriss, that’s who. Ferriss began thinking about it back in 2004 when, as CEO of a Silicon Valley company, he was receiving 1,500 e-mail messages per week and realized the obvious: Few of those messages added any real value. He tested his theory by transplanting himself overseas and limiting his e-mail access to once per week. After four weeks, his company’s profits increased 30 percent. Far-fetched? Maybe. But Ferriss is getting a lot of attention with his new book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, and an article on it in this space has generated some of the biggest response we’ve ever seen.
How do CPAs control distractions?
Ferriss came across a study that found that a single interruption, such as opening an e-mail, causes people to take up to 45 minutes to regain momentum on what they were working on before the interruption.
But CPAs want more than theory. You’ve been asking for practicable advice. So, here, due to popular demand, are some of Ferriss’ specifics:
“Just as ‘modern man’ consumes both too many calories and calories of no nutritional value,” Ferriss says, “the modern knowledge worker eats data both in excess and from the wrong sources.” CPAs, and anyone else, can learn to recognize and fight the information impulse.
YOUR TURN: How do you control e-mail and other digital distractions? Join the survey; get the results.
COMMENTS: Rants, raves, idle thoughts or questions? Contact Rick Telberg.
Copyright © 2007 Bay Street Group LLC: All Rights Reserved: Used by Permission.To view past editions of On Finance click here
About Rick Telberg
Rick Telberg is editor at large/director of online content.
Disclaimer: Any views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the AICPA or CPA2Biz. Official AICPA positions are determined through certain specific committee procedures, due process and deliberation.