#Unplug or Die

“With the pace of our work and our lives increasing at lightning speed, we are not only losing our effectiveness, but ourselves.”

Is the quote above from a meditating monk?  A stereotypical senior citizen longing for a simpler time?  No.  The quote is from Melissa Daimler, the Head of Organizational Effectiveness & Learning at Twitter in her endorsement of the book Wisdom 2.0: The New Movement Toward Purposeful Engagement in Business and in Life, by Soren Gordhamer.  So if someone who WORKS FOR TWITTER can lose herself in the midst of the Tweets and the e-mail and the scrolling bylines, then maybe I’m not crazy, maybe I’m normal.  As further justification of my predicament, I read an HP study that concluded that constant interruptions (mainly e-mail) frag your brain at the same rate as smoking marijuana.

I have poly e-mail phobia.  I literally feel my heart rate go faster as the e-mails pop up, one after the other, most requiring a response.  I don’t get any junk mail at work, my friends use another address; I still get 200+ work e-mails a day.  My boss likely gets triple that, and he does just fine. On the other hand, I have a colleague that, from my view anyway, considers e-mail “done” if she responds–even if it seems to me like she didn’t read the e-mail because the response isn’t germane to the topic or sometimes even understandable.

If I’m not going to magically turn into my boss nor am I going to respond without putting some brain power behind it, how do I stop the crazy?

I read the article in Fast Company about the movement to #unplug.  And took a vacation where I had no connectivity for a week.  I came back smarter.  And made better decisions, faster, after the break.  I was more patient and listened more effectively.  Me, on fire, my old self.

For 10 days.

Now I’m crazy again.  I know all the day-to-day strategies–come on, I’ve TAUGHT all the strategies to others– (turn off your instant notification of new e-mail, use David Allen’s folder system, allocate time to respond and otherwise don’t look, don’t do e-mail on the weekend).  But none of those save me from the volume.

I ordered Gordhamer’s book.  I’ll buckle down and try the strategies again.  And, if nothing else, the title of this blog is a good bumper sticker . . .

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