Recovering from a spell of no email, and starting a new one

"Sisyphus had it easy."

I'll be off email starting Friday night and continuing to Sunday night; the second weekend in a row of a "no email" weekend. It wasn't quite 100% offline the first weekend, since I'm so addicted, but I made a point of not clicking on any messages in my inbox and not sending any mail.

Part of the plan for not doing email is making sure that at the end of the time you can recover gracefully and not feel overwhelmed. This meant dealing with an entire boatload of messages all at once, processing a weekend's worth of mail in a Sunday evening. That's hardly fun, but it beats the alternative of working the email treadmill all weekend long.

The biggest thing I managed to do was slow down the rate of messages into my inbox at least a little by identifying one mailing list that I really like that I just don't have the time to follow right now. It all by itself generates 20-40 messages a day, and even if those only take a few seconds to skip over, it's too much of a burden of diligence to stay on top of it. 

I also realized that I don't have secondary or tertiary communications paths to everyone who is in my inbox. I don't know everyone's phone number, I'm not sure I'm Facebook friends with them, they might or might not use Twitter, and many times I don't have a postal address. I'd love to be able to say that for everyone who mattered I had three ways to signal them, just in case there was some need to be persistent to get a message through. 

1 thought on “Recovering from a spell of no email, and starting a new one

  1. Mojo Jojo

    One thing I’ve observed for me is that it’s not so much the rate of messages in my inbox as it is the rate of CHANGE of messages in my inbox that gets me worked up. For my personal email, I have things set up such that I only “poll” a few times a day. It causes email threads to come in “clumps” that are more easily digested or disposed of. It causes me to not look at my personal email all the time anxiously waiting for something because I know it’s coming at set intervals. If someone needs to do something more “real time” with me than once every few hours, they’ll hit my phone and|or IM. Most of the “current events” where I might want to see it in email are trackable via the web, Twitter, etc. and I don’t need that instantaneous echo chamber in my email.
    I’ve been at <100 messages in my personal inbox for months, now… MONTHS!


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