Freedom! (from emails) (originally posted May(ish) 2012)

Earlier this week I found myself anxiously asking colleagues if there was something wrong with our computer network. I hadn’t received an email in the last 30 minutes, so there MUST be, I thought.

The colleagues gave me a knowing smile and told me “The network is just fine, have you considered that maybe no-one emailed you?!”

This got me thinking (dangerous, I know). Why do I have this overreliance on emails? This has got to be a pretty crazy situation, to worry that I haven’t hadenough emails. Though I predict I am not alone in this crazy email-reliance cycle.

So this week, I’m trying something new at work. I’m only opening my emails a couple of times per day. The first day of the experiment wasn’t easy. The learnt behaviour of email reliance was pretty ingrained and I had to strongly resist moving my mouse over to the Start menu and clicking on the Outlook tab.

Day three of the experiment: I feel great! I’m sure my productivity levels have soared, as I’m not constantly distracted by the latest ‘urgent’ email to land in my inbox. And it feels good to take control, rather than be controlled by email.

And I’m not uncontactable – people can still call me, or contact me on our instant messaging service.

Yesterday someone sent me an instant message to ask if I’d read an email she’d sent earlier in the day. It felt good to say I hadn’t 🙂


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