“Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of habit.”
–W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965)
highest paid author in the world during the 1930s
What if you checked email only 3 times a day?
Since November 2010, we’ve been doing this as a team at JustSell to see if it helps us.
Check and handle email upon arrival then check and handle email at lunch. Check and handle email after 4 pm. At home, check it all you’d like (but hopefully that won’t be more than once a day).
Here’s what we’ve learned so far…
- We recognized our addiction to checking email (and cheated ourselves occasionally).
- We identified how it became a default task (automatically checking it when returning from a discussion, meeting, trip to the bathroom, etc.).
- We saw how we sometimes used it to hide out from our more important work (“If I’m addressing email, I’m doing something. It may not be the most important thing in the long term but at least I’m of use at this moment.” – Do you see the problem with this thinking?).
- We learned that our email could wait* and that as the day came to an end, we were more productive and happier. (Although the first few days were very uncomfortable and had us oddly distracted by our lack of distraction.)
Why is it that we would allow ourselves to be distracted from what we rationally know to be our more important work that gets us closer to our goal of making good things happen?