EMAIL ADDICTION – say it ain’t so


My series continues on things that I am changing as a result of reading “The Power of Less”.Email as Leo said in his book has become an addiction for many of us.  I didn’t believe him when I was reading “The Power of Less” how addicted to e-mail I have become.  This week I have attempted to only look at my e-mail at 7:30, 10:00, 1:30 and 4:30 and found that I didn’t do very well.

imageThe first thing that I discovered that I took for granted previously was the e-mail popups that are in Outlook and the Opera Browser.   Every time I that little popup comes up, I stop what I am doing and glance down to look and see who is sending me mail and then usually click on it, so I can answer right then.

What this actually does is that I stop whatever I am doing on the computer, loose my train of thought and answer a imageusually unrelated e-mail then try to get back to whatever I was working on.  Multiply this by the number of e-mails that I receive over the course of a day or evening and wonder why I have so much difficulty getting work done.

My position is a fairly technical position:  I am a Grants and Program Officer which requires a great deal of focus on the task at hand to ensure things are done correctly or that my interpretations of rules/regulations are appropriate to the situation.  Looking back at how e-mail is ruling my life with its interruptions and instantaneous reply demands, I am surprised that I got anything done.

I am looking at e-mail from a different perspective now and I strongly believe that I have to take control of this tool in order to be more effective/productive at work and home.  Learning how to turn-off the e-mail notification pop-ups in Outlook and the Opera e-mail client is going to be one of my big goals. To think I really thought that the pop-up notification was a great thing and a productivity enhancer, now with this different view, I believe it is part of the problem for me.
This is how my inbox is going to be from now on.  I am taking the read it once then, file-it, forward-it, or trash-it method and applying it to my e-mail as well.  This will hold down the number of e-mails that I re-read over and over being in my inbox.

I have to remember that just because I receive an e-mail that I don’t have to respond immediately and drop everything else I am working on, which usually is more important than the e-mail.  E-mail I am learning has become a distraction that I need to take control of, if I want to be more productive and focused on what I need to get done.

E-mail is a tool that can be a significant time-waster if not carefully monitored.  I am addicted to e-mail, but now at least I now realize it and can take steps to take back control of how I use it.  Hopefully, while I am on vacation I can lower my level of e-mail addiction and find out how to get rid of the pop-up notifications.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours.  Please take the time to comment below.

Creative Commons License
This work by Harold L. Shaw, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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