Sunday, September 02, 2007

Is email (and Facebook) taking over your time at work?

Let us face it. For those of us who have as part of our work a computer connected to Internet, the sources of distraction can be as many as how deep we are willing to dive into the web. It is not an easy situation because, as I mentioned in a previous entry, the web offers you tools that can actually improve your work and ultimately your life. But what happens when dealing with email and/or checking on Facebook at work starts to take over your production time? Well, Internet itself gave me some answers...

There is not always a clear distinction between what is a waste of your time and what can be... let's take it to an extreme, saving you to pay loads of money to a therapist because of your over-stressed life. Distractions have a healthy side and alcohol, tobacco and video games can give you a healthy happiness despite their toxicity. It turns out, as with many things, that the secret of a balanced life is in how much we "consume" of something.

With email and websites like Facebook it becomes even more blurred the distinction between good and bad. I am not going to discuss here the implications that Facebook is having in the lives of those of us who have adopted this site in a routinary basis. Let's focus instead in how to deal with email at work and hope that something can be extrapolated to other areas.

I am not re-inventing the wheel, but just passing on the advices that I read one day to tackle the amount of time spent on the email at work. In fact the original article has as title: How not to check email at work. I am going to summarize here what I have been trying to apply:
  1. Turn off notifications and sometimes even keep the email manager closed.
  2. Check the email when making a break and apply the 4 Ds:
  • Delete it - delete if it has conveyed its purpose
  • Do it - reply if under 2 minutes
  • Delegate it - forward if actionable for someone else
  • Defer it - put away [folder/star, etc.] for later
Ever tried to quit smoking or keep your visits to the gym on? Yes, it has to do with our will, identification of priorities and perception of time. I remember watching a documentary about the life of Charles Dickens where it was stated that he used to spend four hours every morning to deal with his mail. We are not as famous as him, but emails arrive quicker to our inbox these days =)

How are you dealing with email (and Facebook if it's the case!) at work?


  1. Hola hola hola! Tienes razón sobre el facebook, me lo descubrieron hace unos meses y a veces se torna adictivo, te buscaré para darte de alta eh!

    Gracias por tus comentarios en mi blog, siempre me ponen de buenas, me entiendes muy bien...

    un abrazo!

    p.d. Gracias también por poner a Nina Simone en tu blog, que delicia!!

  2. I am looking forward to seeing you in Facebook ;-)

    If we can only transform those addictions in medicine, perhaps then they can be a music is:

    "There's a healing in those guitars
    And a spirit in the song
    No matter what condition your rhythm is in
    The message goes on and on

    "Music is the doctor
    Makes you feel like you want to
    Listen to the doctor
    Just like you ought to
    Music is the doctor of my soul"

    Doobie Brothers. The Doctor.


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