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What I learned by taking a month-long break from email

Email makes us more passive

We expect information to come to us, rather than proactively seeking it out

Our news email means we don't have to search it out. Our event invites mean we don't have to look into what's happening. While it is convenient, we are conditioned to become lazier.

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What I learned by taking a month-long break from email

What I learned by taking a month-long break from email

https://www.fastcompany.com/90296936/lessons-from-not-checking-my-email-messages-for-a-month

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

The email hibernation experiment

The email experiment works as follows:

  • No logging in to any primary email accounts for the entire month.
  • Setting up automatic forwarding to an assistant to ensure nothing urgent falls through the cracks.
  • Setting up an auto-reply explaining the reason for the email sabbatical, the period, and ways to connect during this time.

Email is addictive

According to a 2018 survey, the average creative professional spends 5.6 hours per day checking email.

Once you make up your mind to make the mail app less accessible, it is much easier to give up email. Leave the phone outside the bedroom to help build resilience to the email habit.

Most emails aren't important

Most emails are of little value. We often remember the extraordinary, like the once-in-a-lifetime invitation, but not the ordinary - that possibly only three percent of emails are worth reading.

People's reaction

We often impose an unhealthy expectation on ourselves to respond to every email immediately.
Except for work assignments, this is unnecessary. Many people will applaud you for taking a break and find your decision inspiring.

Email makes us more passive

We expect information to come to us, rather than proactively seeking it out

Our news email means we don't have to search it out. Our event invites mean we don't have to look into what's happening. While it is convenient, we are conditioned to become lazier.

Email as an all-in-one utility

There are so many things funneling back to email.

Without email, it can be difficult to check a doctor's appointment, RSVP to party invites, or access your bill history. Email can be a nightmare if you're trying to create boundaries.

A periodic sabbatical

Spending a month away from email can help you question your default distractions.
Without email, you have to find other stuff to do while riding on the subway or waiting in line. Then you may realize that self-importance and the sense of urgency are not important.

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  • Delegate. Forward the right tasks to the right people.
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"Urgent" vs "Important"

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