2011 has been a year of discovery for me… a year where I am trying to eliminate as many bad habits as I can. One habit that I know I have (but have been avoiding discovering) is how often I click Send & Receive in Outlook… most times without even knowing that I am doing it.
In this post, I look at why I do it, what’s wrong with it and how I am curing myself.
WHY… FROM WHEN?
At first I didn’t try and stop myself from clicking Send & Receive. Instead I tried to see when I was clicking it. This is what I discovered.
- I was clicking Send & Receive whenever I was in-between major pieces of work during the day. It was a mechanism to avoid starting the new piece of work… particularly if it was something that I did not want to do. I was hoping to discover a distraction in my Inbox… even if the distraction would be a total unproductive waste of time.
- I was clicking Send & receive whenever I had a decision to make. The decision could be deciding what I was going to work on next… or it could be a design decision with no strictly right answer (I hate being wrong). In short, I was again hoping that something would catch my attention so that I could avoid doing what I had to do.
In summary… Send & Receive was a procrastination mechanism. I was hoping that it would give me a distraction (in the form of an email) that would justify me not doing what my business needed me to do.
I now make a conscious effort to CLOSE Outlook several times a day.
Once Outlook is closed, I decide what I want to do and then start work. I do not open Outlook while working on this unless I need to refer to an email.
I still find myself moving the mouse over to try and click Send & Receive… but then I realize Outlook is closed… and then I realize WHY it’s closed… which makes me get back to some real work.
The thing I’ve discovered is that most of the things that I had been hoping to avoid only take a few seconds… I’ve been getting much more work done… and most of it is very enjoyable.
Once I get a decent chunk of work done, I turn Outlook on again for my email-fix.
I’d love to hear comments from users on their own ways of dealing with email-distraction.