this week, life is prompting me to bring my email / internet life back into balance. prompting me in pleasant ways; prompting me in unpleasant ways.
among the unpleasant: multiple times i’ve handed my laptop to a friend to borrow, and watched them go bug-eyed at the number of tabs constantly open in my browser. “i feel like i’m having a sympathy panic attack,” one half-joked. yikes.
on the pleasant side: a scheduled meditation retreat at the end of this month comes at a perfect time, reminding me that at times in my young adulthood i’ve survived weeks or even months without checking email. of course, work and livelihood looked very different then. still, retreat time helps in that way. helps un-narrow the focus, relax the grip of habit.
i like this person’s advice on Coping with Email Overload:
I bulk process my email three times a day in 30-minute increments, once in the morning, once mid-day, and once before shutting down my computer for the day. I use a timer and when it beeps, I close my email program.
Here’s what I’ve found: I don’t miss a thing.
In fact, it’s the opposite. I gain presence throughout my day. I am focused on what’s around me in the moment, without distraction. I listen more attentively, notice people’s subtle reactions I would otherwise overlook, and come up with more ideas as my mind wanders. I’m more productive, more sensitive, more creative, and happier.
sometimes it helps me to imagine analog metaphors for digital activities. in this case, it really does make much more sense to ‘open your mailbox’ just a couple times a day. see if there are any letters, bills, deliveries. sort them. appreciate the sweet ones. handle the rest.