Email down – that was the news that greeted me yesterday morning.  At first there was a calmness, but it was not long before panic mode set in.  Email down.  Email down.

That was pretty much all I could mutter to anyone who cared to listen.

While I was quickly onto the company who host my website, which was also down, it was the email situation that was causing the most angst.  From closer inspection I realised it had been down since the evening and the not knowing of what I was missing was slowly turning calm into mild panic.

There are clients to service, suppliers to respond to and new clients to entertain, not to mention a wealth of information from newsletters and other correspondence.  Email down. Email down.  It was dominating my thoughts as I waited on my host to respond to my cries for urgent help.

As the day drifted on and the hours without access past, the irritation grew.  I have an alternative account like most, but I did not want to confuse my clients by telling them to start sending correspondence elsewhere.  I know from previous experience that years later people will still click on the wrong address for you.

Phoning people too ask, “did you try to email me” felt a little desperate.  Of course where you have a regular client you know was going to send something through, then it is ok.

Much of the work I had to do that was not impacted by email was sitting there waiting for my attention.  Strangely I could not focus.  Email down.  Email down.

My mind cast back some weeks when I was holidaying overseas with no access to email or phones for a whole week.  I coped, but that was planned.  Now I sit pondering what pot of gold is waiting for me in cyberspace.  Worse still I was left wondering, will those stray emails return to me or have they forever disappeared.

I tried accessing emails over the web, but the problem was the same.  Email down.  Email down.

I recall working with a couple of organisations in recent years where you work on risk strategies and processes for responding to a crisis.  The question was often asked, how long can you live without email?  In the face of it impacting directly on my own business, the answer is definitely an hour.  Several hours in and none the wiser as to the implications of my inability to access emails, I am amazed how trapped I feel.  I am feeling like a chicken with its head cut off.  The head is still clucking – email down.  Email down.

Communication is so critical to business these days, when you cut of a lifeline and the solution is out of your control, it is hard to react calmly.  The world survived without email before, surely I can do it again.

Of course with people not knowing I had a problem it made it worse.  Send an email to me and nothing happens.  You don’t know it’s down, it just goes.  Responses and relationships are critical to my business as is the case with most businesses.

Call this blog, therapy.  It helps just typing, email down.  Email down.  With each key stroke I am praying I can find the solitude comforting and prioritise other work.

24 hours so far and the email black hole is enveloping me.  I reached crisis point by the late afternoon (actually surprised it took me that long).  I create a new email account (using my home domain) to use temporarily.  The reason I used a new address and not a personal account is simple, once I am finished using it I can permanently redirect emails from this account to my normal business account.  That way if in the future people hit the wrong account on their drop down I will still receive it.  It also means personal and professional remain separate.  I sent an email using this address to a select group telling them of my plight.  Email down.  Email down.

I am still unsure of what will be lost.  They say it will be fixed overnight.  I will be counting lost emails as I drift off tonight.  I hope to awake from the nightmare with communications back in full force.

But wait, could it be…  I have to go, emails are a calling.  I have never been so happy to see my inbox so full so quickly.  Email up.  Email up.  Whooo hooo!