The Email Diet

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 3.22.44 PM.png

With the start of a new year, I’m looking at new workflows, this year even more than usual. I’m disappointed that my latest iBook didn’t get released last year and am now looking for ways to get rid of some of the obstacles that got in my way.

One of the biggest obstacles is email. Because I’m “out there”, I get a lot of email. I particularly like reading and replying to email from listeners and readers. Indeed, I think I like it too much. I can start replying to MacSparky email and then look up to find that three hours just disappeared from the day. Moreover, I realized that I had turned my self-image about replying to most of my email into a liability. If I want to get a book released, I simply can’t do that anymore.

To combat that, I have now put myself on a strict email diet. I’ve set aside 30 minutes a day to process email. That’s it. Within 30 minutes I can always deal with the most urgent and some of the not-so-urgent email sitting in my box. I cannot, however, deal with all email. Every day I give it 30 minutes, and then I get back to work. I realize this isn’t ideal, but it’s a lot better than letting email take over my life.

At this point, I’m considering this an experiment, not a permanent practice. I’m just a few weeks in, but I already see benefits of this email diet. Over the long term, I realize this means I’m not going to be able to answer every email that comes to me. That may just end up being the way things are. If I have to choose between being a guy who no longer publishes books or a guy who doesn’t reply to every single email he receives, I think I know which one I would prefer.