Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…..
Have you ever sat by your mailbox in front of your house or apartment for 8 hours? I’m not talking just one day waiting for that acceptance letter or for your Little Orphan Annie decoder ring. I’m talking, just setting up a chair by the mailbox, five days per week, 8 hours per day? You weren’t waiting for your scholarship letter or even your passport to be delivered. We are talking mainly junk mail. You know, advertisements, pizza coupons, catalogs you never ordered and an occasional electric bill. When you receive your electric bill, do you tell the mailman “Hold up, I want to write a check, get a stamp, then give it back to you.” I’m thinking no. Email is now our preferred method of communication.
- The first thing you do in the morning is to check your email.
I’m talking before you have had your morning cup of joe or take the dog for his morning walk. You get out of bed, and the first place you head is for your phone, tablet, laptop or computer. God forbid that someone if they needed you would call you. Don’t you know that email is so much more personal and urgent?
- You sync your email so that it is always alerting you when you get a new email.
I don’t know about you, but the majority of my emails updates on something I already know about. They are not life-changing. If they were life-changing, I would have told the person to call me the minute they had the news I wanted to hear.
- If you don’t check your email, you feel that nagging thought that you are missing something.
Well yes, you are missing something, people who want to sell you something, ask for something or just let you know of an upcoming event. Sure, there are interoffice emails and answers from clients on proposals you have sent, but have you thought about calling these people or asking them to call you once they have their answer? If they want to go ahead with the proposal, they will probably want to call you if you have directed them to do so. If they don’t, well……you will probably get a rejection by email.
- You are behind on big projects you should have already completed.
Instead of deciding what you wanted to get accomplished before the end of the day, those things that are going to mean the most at the end of the day, you just wait for an email to arrive so you can read it and reply. Instead of planning your day, you let your emails plan your day for you. Even if you are a CEO, if you are doing this, then you are a slave, not the master of your destiny.
- You leave work or your house feeling that you wasted another entirely good day and can’t figure out what you did that day.
You know what, you are right. You did waste another perfectly good day. You let a bunch of 1’s and 0’s, digital media dictate your day for you. Your inbox may be empty, but so is your essential project list empty; you know, the one that you created a month ago that you haven’t looked at. You have become a slave to your emails. They now control you. You have given up all autonomy to others. Their agenda has now become your agenda. You don’t have a plan. This incessant phrase controls you.
It’s time to say No!
This has become like a drug. Why do you think when you log into your email, it asks for the ‘User’ ID? It’s not going to be easy to wean off of this drug. It’s going to be painful, and others, those ‘Pushers’ of email are not going to like it. They won’t like that you don’t instantly reply to their never-ending emails. You will have to set boundaries. You might even have an auto-reply that says something like this: “Thanks for your email. I check my emails twice per day. I will get back to you as soon as I am able. If you need assistance quicker, you have my number.” Can you do this? Do you want to do this? How has this been going for you so far? You know what I’m talking about.
Test for email drug usage
Set up an auto-reply for one day. “I will be out of the (office, desk, area) today. I will answer your email tomorrow when I return.”
If you are expecting some big email, then let your associate, spouse or significant other, check the subject or senders for you to make sure this base is covered. I didn’t say it was going to be easy, but if you can’t make it without emails for one day, then you are out of control and have given this control to anybody that decides to fill your inbox.