We came across a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article from March 7, 2016, entitled, Actually, You Should Check Email First Thing in the Morning”. Since we like to check our email first thing in the morning, we were heartened when we read this:

My new research-based innovation … is to always do email in the morning.

We were heartened for three reasons:

  1. Because the article ran in HBR. If it’s in there, it must be true or reliable … or something.
  2. Because it’s based on research. If HBR is touting research, it must be good or thorough … or something.
  3. Because it’s innovation. And as we all know, if it’s research-based innovation in HBR, then, by golly, it must be innovative or disruptive … or something.

 At first, we harbored some nagging curiosity about what might have changed in the nearly three-and-a-half years since the article was published. After all, consciousness and human cognitive adaptability have evolved, even if they haven’t evolved to the extent that or at the rate at which technology has evolved. But comforted at the knowledge that garden-variety email couldn’t possibly change all that much, we started checking the hell out of our email first thing every morning.

“Hold on Thar, Baba Louie!”*

After we’d let HBR’s reassurances confirm that we were on the right track, we kept reading the article. (We probably should have read the whole thing first.) The sentence immediately following the one cited above said this:

Not necessarily every day, because there are certainly other priorities that need to be accomplished.

Oh, shit! What’s the difference between always and not necessarily every day? If research-based innovation suggests we should always do email in the morning — but other priorities make it unnecessary to do email in the morning every day — on what days should we or should we not do it in the morning? What are the other priorities that should supersede it? Should we get up before breakfast to make sure we have time to do both? Do we need more research-based innovation?

Desperate Measures

Since desperate times call for desperate measures, and since we recognize cerebrally sophisticated publications like HBR are popular enough that they can’t always be troubled with trivialities like clarity and consistency, we decided to stop doing email entirely until some more of HBR’s research-based innovation can put us on the right path. If we have to wait three-and-a-half years for the next revelation, we’ll have quite the backlog to wade through. But at least we won’t have done email at the wrong times or mis-prioritized anything. Some risks just aren’t worth taking.

In the meantime, we can rest easy know HBR is alway there to keep us intellectually, professionally, organizationally, and operationally acute or cutting-edge … or something.

* Quick Draw McGraw

Image by Tumisu, courtesy of pixabay.com.