OK, so I’m an email junkie. The other night I was reading on my iPad and suddenly realized I had checked my email three times in the last half hour and twice in the last two or three minutes.
And then I got thinking about how many times I checked it during the day.
You don’t want to know.
I Started Tracking When I Did This
Seems whenever I hit a bit of a slowdown in thinking and need a pause to reconsider a word choice or sentence structure, the first reaction is to hit the email button and take a break
And why? Man, I’m curious and there’s a bit of a rush when I get a new email. Or whether my news feed has updated. Yeah, it’s addictive behaviour.
My best guess is some of you do the same thing. Gotta check that email! Oh yeah, can’t wait to delete all those junk emails. 😉
OK – So There’s A Problem Here
It’s time to bust out of this cycle and this is step one. “Hi, my name is Doug. I’m an info and email junkie.”
I don’t know how many of you do the same thing or find themselves doing something similar and want to quit, but here’s what I’m doing about this.
I’ve identified it as a problem.
I’m in a bit of a soft launch to defeat this behavior. I’m now aware of it.
Step one. When my coffee pot and I get to my desk, we have a very friendly morning relationship, the very first thing I’m going to do is return to an old habit – that of writing “morning notes”. It’s a way of just writing – filling a minimum of three pages of whatever is on the top of my mind. In many ways, it’s like sweeping the creative mind out allowing new thoughts to come in. This classic book The Artist’s Way
(affiliate link) is where I picked up this habit many years ago and I adopt and forget the technique regularly.
I do find myself retreating to it whenever I need to get jump-started on a project however so it does work for me. I’ve pulled the book off my shelf yet again to reread and renew my committment. Darn thing is getting dog-eared from use.
Step two. After those morning notes, or perhaps writing as part of them, will see me set up an objective for the day. 1) Write X number of words, 2) upload Y pictures 3) post an article or 4) or whatever needs to be done. But always starting with writing X number of words. Always. If I’m not moving forward, I’m either in the same place or falling behind. My objective is to always be moving forward.
Step three. I need a replacement behaviour. So when I find myself reaching for the mouse to check the email or rss feed reader, I’m going to stand up, pick something up on my office that needs putting away and do so. Yeah, my office is currently messy again
Then I’m going to sit down and go back to writing until I have my word count for the day done.
Step four. I’m going to get really serious about doing this on July 1 and for the next 30 days after that, it’s going to be a focus of my work day. No email until after the word count for the day is done. Hopefully I’ll have broken the habit at the end of 30 days but if not, I’ll keep on with the system.
Sooner or later, this will work and I’ll be able to kick this habit and return to a sane existence without a constant barrage of information and email.
Do you share my problem or do you have a system that allows you to ignore your emails?