Technology / Managing email

Confessions from an email addict

When I woke up the other morning at 3am to go to the bathroom, I thought it would be a routine pit stop. How wrong I was. Seeing the office door ajar, I quietly crept in and did the unthinkable. Am I an email addict?

10 May 2009 by

I woke up my peacefully slumbering computer and hit ‘Send/Receive’. I even glanced at my mobile phone to check for missed calls!

Surprisingly, apart from a few eyebrow-raising spam emails, there was no-one urgently needing my attention in the middle of the night. Did I really think there would be?

It was then I knew that my email addiction had become severe.

The next morning I took a deep breath, gazed into the mirror of truth and had a good, hard look at my email habits.

Here’s what I realised.

"I do solemnly declare, honestly promisely, that I will only check email four times per weekday for the next three weeks."

  • I check my email before I brush my teeth in the morning.
  • I check my email in the ad breaks during Underbelly in the evening.
  • I check my email at least every 10 minutes during the workday.
  • I check my email as soon as I walk in the door from being out.
  • I get anxious if I have a full work day away from email.
  • I often check my email on weekends.
  • I get stressed if my email gets sick and I can’t access it.
  • I set up web-based email so I can access it anywhere, anytime.
  • I have even carried email around with me on my mobile.
  • I set up auto-replies to look after my email when I go on holidays.

Want more articles like this? Check out the managing email section.

Now, if “Email” happened to be the name of my newborn baby, then this sort of behaviour may be acceptable. But, as it turns out, “Email” is the name of my slave-driving, productivity-sapping master. So much for working for myself.

When examined in the light of day, it may look like I’m an extreme email addict. But I dare say I’m not alone in these clandestine behaviours.

Productivity gurus the world over tell me that email is holding me back. Yet I cling on to it. Don’t even get me started on Twitter!

It’s got to stop. And it’s got to stop today!

I do solemnly declare, honestly promisely, that I will only check email four times per weekday for the next three weeks. Who’s coming with me?

I invite you to post a comment to confess your email sins and/or consider joining me on this three week quest to break email’s evil grips.

I’ll report back on my nemail addiction in my next article.

Peter Crocker

is a director of Flying Solo responsible for marketing and advertising. As a business copywriter he partners with digital agencies and corporate clients on websites and digital content. He’s the co-author of Flying Solo Revisited – How to go it alone in business.

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