Are You Distracted?

Time to read: Part 1 of a 2-part series on email mastery. Less than one minute to read so you don't get distracted!

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Today is newsletter day, meaning I set a goal to write 3 newsletters. Here is what I have accomplished thus far: walked the dog, marinated chicken, went to yoga, ate lunch, unloaded the dishwasher, folded laundry, scooped litter boxes, and checked email, like 6 or 7 times. When you work from home, the danger is distraction.

And, if you work in an office, the danger is distraction! Tea, anyone?!

Email is a special form of distraction. When you chat in the hall with your friends or I clean out the garage, we know we are not working. (I mean, yes, you can make a case that you are building relationships and still getting things done, and it's not writing a newsletter or attending to that big deadline you have at the end of the week.)

Email, on the other hand, has the illusion of working. If you spend an hour replying to requests and setting up meetings and cleaning out the old inbox, it feels like working. Sometimes, cleaning out your inbox is a worthy activity, but it is not moving you forward on the creative, thoughtful, innovative projects and ideas that will advance your career. "He did a great job crafting emails this year" or "She really kept her inbox in check" is not going to get you promoted.

So, what to do?

  1. Close your email and focus on the innovative and creative projects that need your full attention, even if only for 25 minutes.
  2. Check email once or twice a day at designated times. (I have never been successful at this one. You'll learn more next week in Part 2 of Email Mastery).
  3. Only use email for quick responses. For longer, more nuanced situations, and certainly in conflict, pick up the phone.

Get off your email. You have creative things to do!

With rebel love,


P.S. Please forward this newsletter to your friends. They want to be happier at work, too. They can join here.