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A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload

Cal Newport

Personal Thoughts

Summary Notes

Why are we against emails?

  • Email reduces productivity
  • Email makes us miserable
  • Email has a mind of its own

Every time you switch your attention from one task to another, you’re basically asking your brain to switch all of these cognitive resources.

The Hyperactive Hive Mind 

  • A workflow centered around ongoing conversation fueled by unstructured and unscheduled messages delivered through digital communication tools like email and instant messenger services.
  • It’s this workflow that causes us to spend over a third of our working hours in our inbox, checking for new messages every six minutes.
  • It is, however, a place where you spend most of your day actually working on hard things instead of talking about this work, or endlessly bouncing small tasks back and forth in messages.

Principles for a World Without Email

  • The Attention Capital Principle - The productivity of the knowledge sector can be significantly increased if we identify workflows that better optimize the human brain’s ability to sustainably add value to information.
  • The Process Principle - Introduces smart production processes to knowledge work can dramatically increase performance and make the work much less draining.
  • The Protocol Principle - Designing rules that optimize when and how coordination occurs in the workplace is a pain in the short term but can result in significantly more productive operations in the long term.
  • The Specialization Principle - In the knowledge sector, working on fewer things, but doing each thing with more quality and accountability, can be the foundation for significantly more productivity.

A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload

Cal Newport
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