I’ve complained for years that I can never seem to get out in front of the email inbox. One of the most continuously frustrating aspects of my job is that a million small distractions conspire to prevent me from tackling larger projects, and I know I’m not alone in this.
The problem for many workers is not just the amount of communication, but the fact that it takes time to mentally “shift gears” and sink fully into a larger task after handling a piece of communication (it takes the average person eight minutes to return to a creative state after an interruption).
Many workers today feel too connected, and are beginning to rebel against connectedness itself. Personally, I’ve found that I become more productive when I shut down my email client completely and just deal with mail in larger batches two or three times a day. I rarely enable iChat for the same reason, as useful as it can be at times. CNET:
“It used to be: ‘I’ve got to be online, it’s so frustrating that I can’t get on,'” said Chris Capossela, a vice president in Microsoft’s Information Worker unit. “Now that’s happened. People are ultraconnected. And you know what? Now they are starting to realize, ‘Wow, I want to actually stop getting interrupted.'”
Interesting that Veritas’ marketing department has actually implemented “email-free Fridays” for the same reason.
The “Slow E-Mail Movement” is probably inspired by the slow food movement.