Stepping Back

email addiction

I’m coming to realize that I have a focus problem. I just made my own point by typing that sentence, talking to my friend on instant messenger, reheating my coffee, doing an experiment with an Advil that I dropped and then stepped on (when you open them, they leave residue on your hands, just fyi) and then changing my music before remembering what I was actually supposed to be doing (blogging).

I hate being like this. I’ve been feeling more and more unfocused and uncreative. The minute I begin to focus on something, I’m called away by my need to be constantly connected. It feels like it takes me hours to complete simple tasks, and even though I’m often just trying to complete quick tasks for other people, I don’t feel like I’m being any more helpful.

Worse, my down time has stopped feeling like my own. I check my email constantly, I am always on Twitter, and even on weekends and nights, when I’m not working, I am thinking about work. I feel like a workaholic, but I don’t often get anything done, besides worrying.

So I tried something this weekend. I didn’t check my email at all. I removed my mail icon from my phone’s dock, and went cold turkey. It was so nerve wracking. What if someone needed something, and they didn’t get it, and then they died? What if I missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime because I wasn’t checking my email? Neither of those things happened, because I am not that important, but I had a very relaxing weekend.

So I decided that I’m cutting off my email between 5 PM and 9 AM on weeknights, and not checking it all over the weekend/whenever I am on vacation. I already feel the difference. I don’t think about stressful things when I’m not working, because I’m not checking up on them, and even though I usually work until 6 or 7 at night, I am much more focused because I don’t have my email dinging every five minutes.

I also decided that I’m going to continue to share my productivity experiments with you all as I go. Working from home is basically a constant battle to stay on task, and if I can help ANYONE avoid the soul sucking monster that is procrastination, it will all be worth it. I’m not sure what I’m going to try next, but I’ll definitely keep you posted!