Monday, March 26, 2007

Breaking email habits (via Tomorrow's Professor)

In Tomorrow's Professor, TP Msg. #783 Seven Tips for Dealing with Email Addiction (March 14, 2007 00:31:36 JST), is a whack of advice for coping with "the most insidious, seductive time-waster we face" - email handling. Below is what I've done or decided to do in response to each of the seven suggestions from Mary McKinney, Ph.D:
  1. Quit launching the mail program at computer startup to make deciding whether to attend to mail first a conscious decision;
  2. Turned off the new mail sound to avoid auditory distraction while working on other things;
  3. Decided to turn mail off between sessions, though I'm not sure restarting will save time; if it doesn't I'll hide the mail application between mail checks;
  4. Decided to monitor how often (and when) I check mail during the day for five working days.
  5. Decided to check mail routinely every two hours, at: 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 & 18:00, for now;
  6. Planned to cut back to 2-3 mail checks a day once I get a handle on opportune times (4., above); &
  7. Planned to consider "more relaxing or rewarding" alternatives before checking mail.
Subscriptions to TP are free, and after two weeks you can retrieve TP messages from the Stanford University Center for Teaching and Learning archives. Mary offers further tips for academics on her coaching site.

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