Out In the Street: Friday, July 24, 2011

EMAIL DETOX. My name is Wally and I am an email-aholic.

This week, based largely on the Four Hour Work Week email principles of Tim Ferriss, I began an email detox program.  Early results: absolutely liberating.

Email is was supposed to make us more efficient.  Email is was supposed to free us from the confines of our office allowing us to enjoy life and work from anywhere.  That is the email dream.  In reality email has turned into a nightmare for many us, especially lawyers.  My computer, iphone, and ipad are all linked to my email account.  Like many you, email did not liberate me, it enslaved me.  In many cases, an email from an opposing counsel or client would put me in a really bad mood when I was supposed to be having fun.

Therefore, I have begun a three step email detox program.

  • First, I only check and reply to email at strict intervals: 9 am, 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm.
  • Second, I turn my email offline when I am checking and replying to emails.
  • Third, I keep my inbox clear.  This means I either delete an email, respond to an email and archive/delete it, or print it out and add it to my to-do list.

The effects are immediately noticeable.  I can finish blog posts without email interrupting me.  At home, I read a book or watch a game without being interrupted by email.  Finally, I enjoy my surroundings more.  (Surprisingly, Philly is not as dirty as I thought.)

This is not to say that the detox has been easy.  Of course, I find myself with the urge to check my iphone for email when I am bored.  However, those urges are gradually waning.  Considering that I survived the first 23 years of my life without email (I started using email regularly mid-way through law school) and somehow was still able to get work done, meet up with friends, and otherwise live my life, I do not think I checking email 4 times a day will be so hard.

Raise A Glass: We raise a glass to former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey.  He would have been 116 today.  Happy Birthday Jack.

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