Confessions from an email addict

by Peter Crocker

When I woke up the other morning at 3am to go to the bathroom, I thought it would be a routine pit stop. How wrong I was. Seeing the office door ajar, I quietly crept in and did the unthinkable.

I woke up my peacefully slumbering computer and hit ‘Send/Receive’. I even glanced at my mobile phone to check for missed calls!

Surprisingly, apart from a few eyebrow-raising spam emails, there was no-one urgently needing my attention in the middle of the night. Did I really think there would be?

It was then I knew that my email addiction had become severe.

The next morning I took a deep breath, gazed into the mirror of truth and had a good, hard look at my email habits.

Here’s what I realised.

  • I check my email before I brush my teeth in the morning.
  • I check my email in the ad breaks during Underbelly in the evening.
  • I check my email at least every 10 minutes during the workday.
  • I check my email as soon as I walk in the door from being out.
  • I get anxious if I have a full work day away from email.
  • I often check my email on weekends.
  • I get stressed if my email gets sick and I can’t access it.
  • I set up web-based email so I can access it anywhere, anytime.
  • I have even carried email around with on my mobile.
  • I set up auto-replies to look after my email when I go on holidays.

Now, if “Email” happened to be the name of my newborn baby, then this sort of behaviour may be acceptable. But, as it turns out, “Email” is the name of my slave-driving, productivity-sapping master. So much for working for myself.

When examined in the light of day, it may look like I’m an extreme case. But I dare say I’m not alone in these clandestine behaviours.

Productivity gurus the world over tell me that email is holding me back. Yet I cling on to it. Don’t even get me started on Twitter!

It’s got to stop. And it’s got to stop today!

I do solemnly declare, honestly promisely, that I will only check email four times per weekday for the next three weeks. Who’s coming with me?

I invite you to post a comment to confess your email sins and/or consider joining me on this three week quest to break email’s evil grips.

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