Repurposing The Inbox

Repurposing The Inbox


Imagine a world without email and I bet you’ve got a smile on your face.  For the minority who love it, you’ll argue ad nauseum how it sure beats the carrier pigeon.

Everyone else will wax lyrical on how email destroys teams, robs time and sparks an addiction you’d prefer not to admit to.

So, what if I told you that despite the upsurge of emails sent and accounts opened, I’m of the belief that within the next decade, email will be well on its way to joining the fate of the dinosaurs.

Think fax machine, record player, Sony Walkman, DOS prompt, ‘stiffy’ discs and the typewriter (ping), email too will soon be extinct (or close to it!).

Could your company do (better) without email?

I am not suggesting we go back to donkeys and smoke signals, I actually like email (when used well). As an early stage communication platform and notification system it aces any other option out there right now (i.e. social media and messaging).

In the book The E-myth Revisited, Michael E Gerber suggests that you build your business on systems and not people.

He encourages the mind-set of growing your business as if you were intending to franchise. Having read this book over 10 years ago, as a newbie and lone entrepreneur, I could not have imagined the impact putting this into practice would play in the future.

With this in mind, some 2 years ago I began to challenge the “don’t fix it if it’s not broken” thinking and took on “could it work better?”

So while I still teach email productivity as a vital skill set within the workplace, collaboration tools such as Asana, Podio, TeamworkPM trump email as a lone platform.

Using them in combination is the sweet spot we should be leaning towards.

Related: Get Everything Done by Doing Less

Email is about the ‘me’.


The individual gathering of information on your personal computer which – even if saved to the company hard drive – is of little value to your colleagues.  Despite the countless hours spent head down, tapping up a storm, when you leave, the knowledge leaves with you.

Ideal use:

  • Communication with potential external suppliers and customers during the ‘courting’ phase of your relationship. Quick fast and easy.
  • Notification system when used in conjunction with a collaboration tool.

Collaboration is about the ‘we’.


A central space where information is gathered and shared, a reference library and accountability platform that helps grow teams while they help grow your company.

Countless hours spent head down, tapping up a storm but when you leave, the knowledge is still left behind.

Ideal use:

  • Internal communication and project collaboration (including file sharing and storage, delegation, to-do lists, staff tracking and accountability).
  • Communication (including delegation, progress reports, accountability, file sharing) with external suppliers and customers once engaged.

Over to you, what are your thoughts about email? Does it help or hinder your productivity? If you had an option, would you prefer to give email the boot? Do you use a collaboration tool? If yes, which one have you invested in? Does it help or hinder your productivity?

Related: Turn Your Inbox into a Productivity Tool

Tracey Foulkes
Tracey Foulkes wows audiences with her sharp wit, quick reactions and personable sense of humour. She speaks about procrastination, business productivity, personal motivation and time management. . If you want your team to be inspired to operate outside of the box, contact her for a complimentary productivity assessment, email or find her on Twitter as Tracey Foulkes or on LinkedIn as Tracey Foulkes.