After 20 years in digital marketing, I finally had enough email to last a lifetime, so I opted out. The act of opting out was so easy and painless, I should have done it years ago. I simply put my very last auto reply which reads as follows:

Subject: "Bill Carmody is no longer reachable via email"

Body: "I'm officially done with email. I'm opting out. I call UNCLE. I'm completely overwhelmed by the amount of email I receive. Due to my travel schedule, I find I'm perpetually behind in my email communication. I realize there are people in my organization who can respond to your needs in a more timely manner."

And then I went on to list the important people in my organization and how best you can reach them.

Why I Took This Bold Action
I found that I was spending a lot more time sifting through my hundreds (nearly 1k per day) of emails and often missing the really important ones. Clients in particular would expect fast responses from me via email and I wasn't delivering. Simply put, the system was broken and it needed immediate attention.

Now, the people I really want to know how to get a hold of me know how to do so. Between my mobile phone (texting or calling) and my team, I'm a lot more confident that I'm on top of what's going on and not down inside of a digital hole desperately trying to dig myself out.

I Was Inspired by Bert Jacobs, CEO of Life Is Good
At a recent Inc Owners Council event, I had the pleasure of chit chatting with Bert Jacobs, and he had just opted out of email. When he told me this, my first thought was one of jealousy. "I want to do that," I thought, "but I could never do it. It just wouldn't be feasible." And as the old saying goes, "If you think you can, or you think you can't ... you're right!"

So I chose to think differently and instead focused on, "How could I do this?" What would it take? What would it require? How could I manage this message to my clients? And the more I thought about it, the easier the more clear the idea became. All of my clients have my mobile number and that's the best way to reach me, so let's start there. When others are reaching out to me, they usually don't want me, they just don't know who inside Trepoint they should reach out to, so provide a contact list.

Lastly, if someone really wants a meeting with me, they can go through my personal assistant who can either screen or ask me how I feel about meeting with a particular person. It made all the sense in the world. The people who needed to reach me could do it faster and the rest would go through the proper channels whereby my team could determine how important a meeting with me was based on everything else we are currently working on.

Why You Should Ditch Email Too!
Answer me these 7 questions, and be honest with yourself:

I'm sure there are at least another 20 questions we could ask here, but this was enough for me. I spent hours working on email filters in Outlook and have purchased SPAM software to combat my bloated in-box, but for every trick I managed to come up with, SPAMers seemed to be one step ahead of all of us. Opting out of newsletters never really worked, and you got the sense that your contact info was temporarily shifted, but not deleted, as content you're sure you said no to somehow found its way back into your in-box.

So take the plunge. If you want 25 to 50% of your day back, ditch your email and focus on what matters. I assure you the vast majority of what you're sifting through can more quickly and easily be discovered with a quick Google Search.

Published on: Apr 3, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.