Email OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

According to a report from Basex, the average "knowledge worker" — someone who is part of the growing information economy — loses 2.1 hours a day to interruptions. If those workers make an average of $21 an hour, that adds up to $588 billion a year — more than the gross domestic product of


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Then another article goes on to say, “Other companies, such as Ambient Devices, say keep it simple. You shouldn’t have to open your e-mail whenever an icon pops up on your screen. A glance should tell if the new message is important to you, much the way you glance at a clock.”

Actually, that’s a *really* bad idea.  Even glancing at an email starts your mind a-wandering, and there aren’t too many people who are disciplined enough not to open it if the subject line and sender looks even remotely more interesting than what they’re working on.  If you have the luxury of having two screens (which boosts productivity by 30%), keep one dedicated to your communications functions, and mute the sound and blank the screen when you’re trying to concentrate on a project.  Bring a kitchen timer from home, set it for an hour, and dare yourself not to check email until the timer goes off.  If you can’t, you officially have email OCD.  If you only have one monitor, either close your email program completely, or if you have to have it open to check your calendar, don’t keep your in-box up. 

Better yet, go under Tools, Options, Email Options, Advanced Email Options and turn off all the global alerts, noises, envelopes, and pop-ups when you get an email, so you won’t be tempted to check it.  Then go into your Rules and set a specific sound to play when you do get a message from a particular person such as your boss.  That way, your ears will hear the cue, but your eyes won’t go to the pop-up and distract your thoughts.  You can complete the sentence you’re working on before checking the message.