Put the email down and step away

Over the past 4.5 years, working as a remote employee, I’ve become involved in an intimate (and sometimes torrid) relationship with Outlook. Don’t tell my wife, please. Actually, she probably knows this already.

Outlook seduces me with her alerts and dialogues. “Check out the InBox,” she coos every five minutes. “See how important you are,” she purrs, “Let me show you how much people want you and need your expertise.” Trollop that she is, I cannot quit her.

What I really need instead is to focus on is writing and marketing strategy.  So I’ve been experimenting with turning Outlook off for the whole morning, though that’s difficult since I use my email as a de facto archive, which I am sure many of you do as well.

The result: I’ve learned that, if I can go for 20 minutes without the urge to check email, it subsides and my brain is able to reach clarity around whatever task I’ve set for myself. I know that it’s becoming vogue to take a Digital Sabbatical, but I wonder if shorter breaks, more frequently taken might result in a more consistent, enduring mental benefit. Let’s call them short-term moratoriums, or STeMs.

So – time to take a STeM. See you soon.