Pull in lieu of Push

Recently there was an interesting article in Harvard Business Review BlogHow to Break Free from Email Jail„. The developed idea in the article is information-„pull“ instead of information-„push“.

Today everyone can write an email to everybody anytime whether they need it or not. A lot of people set up their e-mail client to show an incoming e-mail immediately. With a simple window, with a toast notification and sometimes with a vociferous sound. At the end of the day they complain about the amount of e-mails they got, and they complain about the information overflow too. In this case they are the slave of their inbox, they become an e-mail assembly line worker. Nothing against an assembly line, but it has nothing to do with handling e-mails.

Maybe one or the other will argue, yes, of course e-mail works like that. In this case you should imagine that e-mails do not exist anymore, and you get all this information you usually get by e-mail printed and thrown on your desk. An outcry, no, that does not work, no. Well, now we start thinking about how it can work differently.

It is a simple step to stop all these distractions, and in my point of view fully unnecessary settings. You just handle your e-mail when you want to do. In this case you create a pseudo e-mail pull system. Also I have to get released from my supervision constraints. The benefit is a more self-determined working style.

However, the aim to get less e-mails has not been reached yet. As a repetition, the first step was a survey of your own e-mail account. In my self experiment I radically reduced my newsletters first. Until this point it was easy, the difficult part will come after, how to manage to source information out of your e-mail inbox, and in addition how to communicate with your colleagues out of your e-mail inbox.

For the time being I will remain with the presented article. First I want to carry on to explain what a pull system is and which characteristics it has.

You indicate everything as a pull system if the user self determine when he wants to read and handle the information he got. Pull system are e.g. RSS readers, blogs, Wikipedia’s or Dropbox. Thus all well-known applications and functions. However, with the knowledge to know what a pull system is, you have not managed for a long time yet to break away from your inbox. Because know a new challenge starts namely all your information are again spread over many systems and additionally without any connections. As a reference, for this I have found an article in Blue Blog (de).

The skill you need is to work with it now. Initially you should know what is the system able to do, what it is suitable for and for what it is not. With this knowledge and maybe some communication rules we can start to connect all the programs and systems, or just use them for special tasks, so that the just straightened e-mail box chaos will not start at an other place again.

Maybe we do not need a rule, maybe a best practise approach is better that bring us further. Here I want to stop and ask my readers, which approach have you chosen to work with this amount of pull applications? Which one is established, which one was exposed to be too complex?

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