I’m breaking up with email.
I’m in an all-out effort to be more productive and focused. As such, I’m experimenting with various productivity techniques. This week, I’m reducing my dependency on email as a distraction and a vice. It’s harder than I thought. Way. Harder.
I’ve long touted the benefits of checking email two or three times per day when teaching emerging leaders how to be more strategically effective. And just between you and me, I thought I practiced this myself. Until I got real with myself this week and actually turned email off – closed the application, the webmail version and turned off the “new mail” chime on my smartphone. Then the shizzle got real.
Take this morning for example: I’m in my office, prepping for a speech I’m giving on Friday. I’m combing through data from interview research to find the most compelling stories to support the points I’m making. As soon as I bump up against a challenge, like not easily finding a story that illustrates my point, I reach for email.
Or as soon as I come to a natural transition point, I reach for email. I just completed one of the sections of the speech. I have only one section to go (plus the conclusion), and what do I do? I reach for effing email. Sheesh!!
I’ve often spoken about how email is as addictive as cocaine, sugar and Facebook. Somehow, I thought I was immune. I think we all do. We think that we are stronger than that. We, certainly, don’t succumb to the dopamine rush that the brain produces when we get a new email. But alas, we do. Totally.
From an addiction standpoint, email has the perfect combination of elements:
- It’s infrequent. You never know exactly when one is coming. Which makes it so much more exciting when you get one!
- It’s personal. Even if it is a mailing list you are subscribed to, it’s most often addressed to you personally.
- It’s the perfect procrastination tool. It feels like work. Like important work.
And so, on this morning, as the minutes tick down until noon, when I can next check my email (one hour, fourteen minutes to go), I reach for my blog instead, hoping for a hit of dopamine somewhere down the line, when a reader comments on the posting.
Perhaps blogging will become my next vice.
And, if you’ve sent me an email this morning . . .
expect a response at either noon or 4:00 pm.