Hi! My name is Suzanne and I'm an email addict. I have three email accounts that I keep open all the time. The first is my personal email, where I conduct all non-professional communication. The second is my public email address (EvilHRLady@gmail.com) where my readers can reach me. I take questions and story suggestions and get a lot of spam about winning the British lottery at this address. The third is my top secret business email that only regular clients have access to.

As you can imagine, I get a lot of email and I at least look at each one every time an email comes in. (I don't generally answer everything immediately, but I do look at it to see if it needs handling ASAP.)

On Monday, I decided to change the passwords on all three email accounts. I had given away an old computer, and while I'm pretty sure I wiped everything out, I thought it was better safe than sorry, and I wanted to make sure my accounts weren't accessible. So, using my laptop I updated all three passwords.

It just so happens that on Monday, I had a huge and tedious project due by the end of the business day. This project required a lot of computer usage, and so to increase my computer speed, I closed everything that wasn't critical--including my email windows. No worries, though, my iPhone was standing by with all three accounts programmed in. It should beep at me each time an email came in.

I settled in for a long day of hard work and I worked, and worked, and worked, and got everything done before the deadline. The work was not pleasant, but it was necessary and the end result was great. As I was wrapping everything up, I needed to send the final project on--via email.

So, I opened my email and was shocked to find a ton of unread messages! All three accounts were bursting at the seams! You see, while I had changed the passwords to my accounts on my computer, I hadn't updated the passwords on my iPhone, so no emails came through there.

Here's the thing. No one died. No one fired me. I was so busy working that I hadn't even noticed I wasn't receiving emails. There wasn't a single true emergency that couldn't be handled now that I had finished my big project. And, the reality is, anyone who would email me about a true emergency also has my phone number and could have called. I realized I had worked my tail end off but had finished earlier than I thought I would, and the secret to that was no email throughout the day.

While my distractions weren't completely eliminated (I still received text messages, but only from family members and my son's teacher), they were greatly diminished. Frankly, there appeared to be no downside from turning off my email for five or six hours.

I always think of the vast majority of my email as work related, and it is. But that doesn't mean it has to be seen as soon as it comes in. That's the beauty of email after all--the sender can send when she has time and you can respond when you have time.

Will I always turn my email off when I'm working? Nah, I'm an email addict, and I like it. But will I turn it off again when I have a difficult project that requires a good deal of concentration again? Absolutely. Will the world end if I don't respond to an important email within 10 minutes? Of course not, and your world won't end either.

Try an experiment and turn off your email while you're doing a project, and let me know how it goes. You can email me at EvilHRLady@gmail.com. Just don't expect an instantaneous reply.

Published on: Aug 31, 2016
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