A few weeks ago, I said I’d cut down on my email, and that I was going on a low information diet. In reality I was already on the low information diet, and I was just reducing my intake even more to improve my internet business.

I know this is going to sound a little shocking to some, but for several years now I haven’t read a newspaper or watched the news. My reason for that is I just find it too damn depressing, and it distracts me from living my life. So I cut it out.

If the news is really important, then I’ve always figured that someone would tell me, or as happens more often nowadays, they ask my opinion.

When I had a job, that stance served me well as the office would be chattering about whatever the newsworthy item was about, and I’d ask a couple of questions, get some stares and a few dropped jaws because I didn’t know anything about it, and that would be it. I was updated.

Watching people walk away shaking their heads made me smile.

And before you say “yes but you could never hold an informed opinion about anything”, I say so what? The news as it is reported is made up. It’s someone else’s opinion of a second or third hand recollection of something that might or might not have happened the way they think it did.

History is the same. The ultimate winners always become the good guys and get to write history the way they want to.

Anyway, I always accept “news” with more than a pinch of salt because we’ll never know what really happened, just what was reported. Why hold an opinion when you don’t know all the facts, and why bother in the first place? Most (99.99% +) “news” doesn’t affect the day to day running of my life.

It’s just an idle entertainment.

So back to email…

As you might know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, I’ve cut down on email checking, and at one point got it down to three times a week, and even twice for a couple of weeks. The call was strong, but I resisted.

But because I’ve been doing a lot of communication with one of my developers (David) over a project or two we’re in various stages with, I found myself checking my email more and more, and soon I found myself checking one email account two or three times a day again. Grrr.

I don’t have to check my email for any support issues as I now use TicketDesk Pro for everything.

As an aside, I now find I can answer all my support questions once a day and it takes me 30 minutes. That’s because I have my own copy of TicketDesk Pro help desk fully loaded with Standard Responses, including pre-defined URLs. The answers to most questions are just a quick select and “add” away. (That’s a killer benefit of TicketDesk Pro.)

So the email problem has reared its head again, albeit on a smaller scale, and I stopped to have a think about it. I need that communication with business partners and staff, but I don’t want to be distracted by other things while I’m checking my email from those people I *want* to hear from.

Thirty seconds later I had my solution. A private forum. Perfect.

We can hold all discussions about various projects and issues in different threads. Everything is held together, no more searching through emails, and more importantly, no distractions. It should actually improve all our productivity. All I have to do is leave it open in my browser.

So at some time in the next couple of days I’ll set that up, probably on an existing SMF forum I have as I really like the way SMF works.

My email consumption should go back down to checking twice a week. Remember my goal is ONE hour per week to handle all email.

Yeah I know that sounds severe, but if you don’t have goals, you don’t have directions.

So what do you think? Could you achieve an hour a week to check email? What do you think of my forum idea? Do you know of a better solution?

-Frank Haywood