I Need Help With My Email

Ami Kassar is experiencing email withdrawal.

Last week, I started testing a system with one of my teammates. I feel like I’m in withdrawal.

By Ami Kassar

I admit it. I have a messaging problem. I get several hundred communications daily and feel constant pressure to stay on top of them. I check my email inbox when I go to bed at night. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I grope around the bed, looking for my phone. And when I wake up in the morning, my first activity is to see what’s happened, if anything, during the middle of the night.

During the day, regardless of what’s on my schedule, I’m always trying to stay on top of my inbox out of fear that, if I leave it alone for a few hours, I will miss something important or it will get out of control. As a result, I know I’ve been spending (or wasting) a few hours daily sorting through emails.

Many people have solved their email problems by employing virtual or in-person assistants. There are many options to consider. I have just never been willing to take the plunge. Until now. As you may have guessed, this post continues my series about “embracing the uncomfortable.”

Last week I started testing a system with one of my teammates. The idea is that three times a day, she goes through my email. She sorts through the stuff I don’t need to waste brain cells on and stars the important ones for me to review later. The system is not perfect, but it’s a start.

I have had two different reactions to this experiment so far. The first is I really do feel as if I’m in withdrawal. It is extremely difficult not to open my email box throughout the day and take a sneak peek. When my phone pings, I need to know: Is it important? Can it wait for my midday check-in when it’s all been sorted for me? This is a serious change in mindset for me. And I fess up: It hasn’t been easy.

But while I feel as if I’m experiencing withdrawal, I also feel liberated. I have more time and brain space to consider significant issues and opportunities. I have a lot fewer tiny little things pinging at me. On occasion, I’ve even found time to sit and talk with my wife or even to—dare I say it?—read a book.

I am determined to keep working on this. The first system we have set up for this could be better. It will take time to get it right, but it’s off to a good start. And once I’ve conquered email, I will try to address texting and my WhatsApp groups.

Ami Kassar is CEO of MultiFunding.

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