Freedom From Business as Usual (Part 5)
I think I am addicted… to email
I think I am addicted to email. This is how one of my coaching calls began last week. These words were uttered with the utmost sincerity, concern and outright fear. My client was not joking. She was genuinely concerned that the pull of her inbox was too strong and that it was becoming an addiction.
Another client was on a sales call with a group of account managers at a very large, very well-known retailer (who shall remain anonymous) when he witnessed this addiction in person. In the middle of their meeting – in the middle of the retail aisle – the account managers’ Blackberries started buzzing, vibrating and pinging. Each one of the account managers stopped in the middle of the conversation to pull out their Blackberry and check it. He was surprised and asked them if they always checked their Blackberry when it vibrated. They looked at him like he was from a different planet and asked him what he did when his Blackberry vibrated. He said nothing because he kept his Blackberry in the car when he was with his clients.
Is your connection to your inbox tipping the scale from responsive to obsessive? Are you managing it or is it managing you?
Let’s reexamine your relationship with your inbox.
Do you find yourself checking your inbox at inappropriate times? In meetings, during meals, during family time, in the restroom?
What if you intentionally checked your email? How might your interactions change with your colleagues, your significant other, family or yourself?
Need --> Necessary
Does constantly checking and responding to your email fulfill some need within you? Do you get a rush from replying first?
What if your relationship with your inbox was not based on a need, but was based on a necessary and important aspect of your work – replying to a customer, emailing a prospect or scheduling lunch with a friend? How might you approach your inbox differently?
Bottomless pit --> Boundaries
Is your inbox a bottomless pit? Is there no end in sight? Will you never dig yourself out of this abyss? Is it cold, dark and deep?
What if there were some boundaries around how many emails you allowed in your inbox at one time? What if you decided that you had the power over your inbox and you were no longer going to allow the boundaries around your time to be hijacked by a machine?
Is checking your email an obligation? Does it feel like you are engaging in information warfare each time you open it?
What if checking your email served some broader objective? How might you reframe your relationship with your inbox so that it is no longer an obligation, but an objective in achieving your broader goal?
Yes, I took some liberties with this one because I could not think of appropriate words beginning with X. However, is your relationship with your inbox extreme? Are you addicted? Do you feel compelled to check it – all the time?
What if you just exhaled and took a breath. What might happen?
Are you managing your inbox or is it managing you?
What if? What if you did something differently tomorrow? What might happen?
If you'd like more, please consider attending ASTD 2013