It’s Time to Break Your Email Addiction

We all have it to some degree, and now, psychologists are actually trying to quantify it and make a broadly addressed behavioral problem. I’m not sure I’d agree with that, but I do think it’s more serious that most people realize, especially when it keeps you from accomplishing significant things with your life. To that end, here’s some principles to think about the next time you sit down at the computer or check your mobile device:

1. If you’re spending your day responding to email, then you’re spending the day responding to other people’s priorities, not yours.

2. We often default to answering email because it’s a false sense of accomplishment.   It’s tough to start that new project, launch the new book, begin a new film, or whatever. But moving a few emails out of the inbox makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something. The problem is, we haven’t, and the really important projects are still sitting there.

3. I have an unemployed friend who lives under the illusion that constantly checking his email will get him a job.   After all, he feels like he’s doing something. But while he’s responding to email, he’s not going to job interviews, meeting people, developing face to face relationships, increasing his skills, reading important books, growing in his profession, or other real, tangible things that will help him in his career.

4. Email can wait.   If it was critical they would call. You can train your co-workers, clients, and friends to call if it’s time sensitive. I know people who will interrupt literally anything to respond to an email. Let it sit. It will be fine.

5. Your family and friends are weary of your addiction.   Stop coming home from work and immediately checking your email. Stop staying up at night with it. Stop check it at church, at dinner, or with friends. The most important commodity of the 21st century will be undivided attention.  Start practicing focus. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your relationships and outlook on life.

6. Finally – which is more important? Having an empty email inbox, or accomplishing your dream project?

Email is a great tool, but app developers have made it so easy and convenient to check that we’ve allowed it access to the most intimate and private moments of our lives. It won’t go away anytime soon, so we’ll have to be serious and intentional about making changes. Start today. Breaking any addiction is worth the effort, and life on the other side is amazing…

Tell us – do you need to come clean?

 

This entry was posted on Monday, November 4th, 2013 at 6:39 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “It’s Time to Break Your Email Addiction”

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  1. Joe Lalonde says:

    You trying to single me out Phil? While I don’t feel like I have to respond to every email, I feel like I need to check my inbox, OFTEN.

  2. Dale Warren says:

    My name is Dale, I’m an email addict. “The most important commodity in the 21st Century is undivided attention.” Set down your iphone, look them in the eye, and tell a loved one “What’s on your mind.” Then actually listen.

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