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Ditching the Email Mindset for Greater Productivity

emailemailBy Shayne Hughes

It’s been three years since LaL did our no-email-for-a-week experiment and Forbes.com and NPR covered it. So I was surprised to get a call last week from MainStreet.com for an article. Evidently, email – like a Chinese water torture of constant demand – is still a huge source of pain, frustration and obligation for many.

While I don’t see email disappearing anytime soon, this lingering interest in the issue signals to me how strongly people are yearning for a different kind of work experience – for deeper, more authentic connection with their co-workers, a sense of meaningful productivity and feeling like they’re contributing to a larger purpose.

At LaL, we don’t follow all our resolutions from that no-email experiment perfectly, but we do often catch ourselves. Personally, I feel less invaded by email. Now, post-experiment, it’s a secondary component to work whereas before it was primary. What I discovered in the “emptiness” and slower pace of my day during the experiment was how much better I could focus on writing, strategic planning and creating new programs. I’m writing a book right now and I couldn’t do it in a fast-paced email mindset – that’s not the mental mode where I do my most insightful, innovative or productive work. The experiment helped me learn to create some detachment from email for what’s really important to me.

If you’re looking to improve your co-dependent relationship to email, I encourage you to focus less on just getting away from email and more on detaching from the email energy mindset. That shift in how you hold it might give you more impetus to turn email off when you’d rather do something that really matters to you.

Read MainStreet.com’s article, “Are We Headed For the Death of Email, Or Is That Just Wishful Thinking?”

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