Email is E-V-I-L

Self-Intervention in Progress

Perhaps you know that rushed feeling, especially at work, where email often seems to take over your day? To the point where you can’t get much else done?

Congratulations, you’re not alone.

I’ve been fighting this problem for months now, ever since I started in my new position at work. And what I have learned is this: email is out of control. Whatever its benefits, its chief attribute seems to be that it prevents other actual work from getting done.

Like a drug, it is diversionary, alluring, and insidious. So, as with a drug, the time has come to “just say no”.

Or, as close to “no” as I can get.

I hereby resolve to spend no more than an hour a day (90 minutes max) on email. Reading it, writing it, the whole deal. We’ll see how close to that target I can get over the next month or two.

In the past, I’ve been too willing to stand guard by my Inbox, ready to pounce, as if they would spoil if they sat for a couple of hours. Look how reactive I am! See how quickly I reply!

This does two things that are bad: it encourages others to expect quick answers all the time, and prevents me from allocating my time appropriately, to get actual productive work done.

No more. If something is important enough, there are two good ways to reach me: call me on the phone, or send a “high priority” email, which I have configured to pop up a msg box on my screen. Please use them. But otherwise, emails are going to sit until I decide I have time to look at them.

Simply stated, I need to regain control of my time, my responsibilities, and therefore my life. If in pursuit of that goal, some pixels sit un-looked at on some email server … I’m actually OK with that.

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