Book Review: A World Without Email by Cal Newport

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A World Without Email by Cal Newport, Book Lab Review

What if time blocks, email free Thursday’s, and turning off notifications is not enough? What if we need to totally re-imagine how we work to reclaim our productivity?
This is the question that Cal Newport, of Deep Work and So Good they Can’t Ignore You fame, tried to answer in his new book, A World Without Email.
He argues that email and Slack (or “The bane of my existence”, as I call it.) has not only made communication fast and frictionless, it has also introduced some quite horrible side effects like growing anxiety, frustration, and loss of productivity among knowledge-workers.

He calls it The Hyperactive Hive mind: workplaces that let the email inbox dictate priorities. You jump between random task and get stuck in never ending email threads that seems to nowhere.

A lot of things play into the feeling of dissatisfaction, frustration and guilt:

🔸A feeling that people are waiting for you to respond to messages.
🔹Uncertainty about when tasks are done.
🔸Scattered attention.


This book reminded me of this interesting expression– email apnea– I found in The Iconist:

“I’ve just opened my email and there’s nothing out of the ordinary there. It’s the usual daily flood of schedule, project, travel, information and junk mail. Then i notice… I’m holding my breath.” – Linda Stone

A video review of A World Without Email by Cal Newport. The author of Deep Work, Digital Minimalism and So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

💥 ACTIONS:
-Implemented Personal Work Board: Started to experimenting with focusing on certain work on certain days to reduce the draining effect of switching between tasks of unrelated nature.

⚖️ VERDICT
The book is new, but feels a bit dated— I mean, who is organizing task management though email these days?! or maybe I just working at a company that is ahead of the curve. I have been using Agile frameworks like Kanban and Scrum for a decade, which is what book suggests as an antidote to email chaos.
That’ being said, I’m implementing a few ideas from this book and it feels like they might revolutionize the way I’m working!

If you’re still heavily reliant on email for your daily work, then definitely check out this book! 👌

⁉️What tools and practices makes you productive?⁉️

Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

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