"You've got mail" has become one of the more famous phrases of our times. Email, it seems, has taken control of our lives. If someone doesn't respond to an email we start thinking - what is wrong? If they haven't checked our email in the last 10 or 15 minutes some people start to get very anxious . Have you ever been tempted to email the person across the table absorbed in checking their Blackberry so you could get their attention back to a real face-to-face conversation?
In an earlier post I suggested one way to get your email addiction under control was to check your email only at regular intervals. To help do this I suggested that you go into your email device settings and set them to "off" or "none". By doing this you remove the constant reminder - a new email just came in - "look at me". One of my favorite bloggers, Matt Moran, recently wrote in the ITtoolbox blog about a great refinement to this technique. Matt has modified his email signature to include:
IMPORTANT NOTICE ON EMAIL & REACHING ME:
- as of 11/20/2007
As an exercise in effectiveness, I will begin checking email less regularly - once in the morning and once in the late afternoon.
If your message is critical, please call. If it is not critical, please be patient and I will get back with you.
The great thing about this is that by doing so he is starting to set the expectations of the people he communicates with. Not only does this reduce the pressure to respond immediately it may also help reduce the "did you get my email?" emails. It changes the whole tone of the conversation from frenzied to timely which is rather nice I would say.
No doubt you're thinking - what has all this have to do with me, I'm not addicted to email. Fortunately, I found some great indicators to see if you are addicted and also to ways to "cure" yourself.