April plan: just check email twice a day

I sort of missed March in terms of monthly goals. As a look back, here’s how they’re going now:
Oct/Nov: don’t snap at people. 100% integrated into my life. I feel pretty good about this.
Dec: draw something every day. Drew 24/31 days in December. I have not drawn something since December. Fun exercise, not a new habit.
Jan: Meditate: I meditated 29/31 days in January. Has it become a habit? Well, I’m still trying at it. I’m about 50% these days. It is really hard to convince myself that I should spend 20 minutes doing that. My life feels too full again. How can we get back those Seattle weekends where I had nothing planned, or taking off work and forgetting about it?
Feb/Mar: Paleo eating: Successfully completed this one for 28 days, plus a week, and then figured it wasn’t worth it (see recent blog posts). It was probably a beneficial change overall; paleo is not totally wrong, just not totally right either. Some things have stuck with me. “Breakfast salads” is one, and I think I eat less grains overall now, which is good.
Also, unrelated to paleo, somewhere in here I got in the habit of eating no added sugar except Saturday. Still doing well with that one. Okay, let’s call that “February” and say paleo is March. Whatever. Either way, it’s a pretty good one.

For April I was thinking something about the “checking” habit. I feel like I’m always just “getting things done”, always sprinting, always rushing toward another deadline. This is silly; my deadlines are not that many. I need to do something to calm this impulse and let me feel more expansive.
Also, from RescueTime, I know that my weekly time spent on email has ranged between 8-11 hours per week over the last few weeks. That’s a bit nuts.
So I’m thinking the plan for April is: just check email twice a day. It’s concrete and measurable, it’s simple, and it would probably be helpful. (so if you want to reach me with a quick turnaround, call or text me.)

(if this post seems annoyingly self-congratulatory, sorry about that. hey, this is the internet, where we constantly curate our image by presenting the best versions of ourselves, right?)


Julia -

I’m struck by the fact that you rate 8-11 hours per week as high! Spending only an hour and a half-ish on e-mail a day seems reasonable in a world governed by internet communication.

I look at it this way - before e-mail professionals did most of their communication by phone, and I’d be curious to know how much time the average office worker would have spent making and taking phone calls and listening to voicemail. Diverting that communication to e-mail saves me time and lets me spend the remaining 69 hours of my work week on things that I enjoy more :-)

Dan -

That’s true. Though there is some increase in communication (b/c people will email something they wouldn’t call about), communication is probably more efficient than it used to be. And phone calls are the worst - they interrupt you by nature.

But it could still be better :D And probably the worst thing about my 10 hours/week on email is that it’s 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, because I’m always checking it. Also, this doesn’t count the various other checking - twitter, google reader, etc, which is less than email but still mostly-wasted time.

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