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The Confessions of an E-mail Junkie: How I ditched checking email every few mins.

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I’ve just got to tell you about this!

Because its downright amazing how a small piece of software can have such a massive impact on a personal & professional level. I mean really! I’m 4 times as productive as I used to be, before I stumbled upon this little miracle.

And no, I am not exaggerating.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering what I’m talking about, so let me explain!

You know what it’s like to live with email client on your phone. You check it not just every day, not just during work hours. But Every. Freaking. Minute. Even in places I have no intention of committing to a public platform.  In short the pre-occupation with email is no different than an addiction.

Basically I was an addict. I was addicted to email. I needed to know who sent me what, otherwise I just couldn’t take the next step.

However to my comfort, it was not just me. Almost everyone who has an email address is addicted to email. And that’s a lot of people! Nir Eyal explains it well in his book Hooked. He says that emails generally bring in excitement – a contact with someone we desire to associate with. In short it is a reward and our brain can’t get enough of the stimulation.

When looking for ways to become more productive, I came across this innocuous  plugin sitting in a quiet corner of the internet, called Inbox Pause. After I installed it, 3 things happened:

  • It made me aware of my email addiction!
  • It forced me to reduce the number of times I checked my email down from few times an hour to just 3 times a day.   (Research says 3 times keeps stress away).
  • It freed up a huge chunk of my time to tackle activities which could really benefit my work and personal projects.

So how does this plugin work?

Here’s a verbatim definition, directly from the website:

“With INBOX PAUSE, you can put new messages on hold, making it so they won’t appear in your Inbox until you are ready for them. Paradigm shifted.”

A shift indeed! After I installed the plugin and used the simple ‘Pause’ button, it showed me this message:

Inbox Pause

It customized the easy settings to allow emails to hit my inbox only at 8:30 am, 1:00 pm & 5:00pm.

Is that it? Yes that’s it.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

I bet you are skeptical

You may be thinking, “Oh I don’t need a plugin to stop me from checking email. I’ll just close my browser tab. And email is gone!”

But here’s the thing, closing the browser won’t solve the problem because:

  • You still need to reply, compose & archive email.  For that you need to be in your inbox which will keep showing you new messages. This defeats the purpose of not checking email.
  • Emails are not restricted to your browser. Thanks to smart phones and tablets, they follow you in around. And you’re always tempted to check email!

You need to try to ‘Pause’ your Inbox to believe it.

Summing up the benefits of this plugin

It is liberating.

The beauty of this plugin lies in what happens after the Inbox is paused. All of a sudden you start thinking, “Hmm… I can’t check my email. So what do I do now?”

*twiddle your thumbs for some time*

“Wow I never realized I have so much time on my hands.”

So Instead of checking your email you make a habit of perusing your todo list. At least that is what happened to me.

One task at a time, I start working on my pending action items. Before I knew it, I had gotten so much done!

Post Inbox Pause, life changed for the better:

  • I stopped checking emails in the mornings & before going to sleep. My stress levels reduced. It feels like I’m back in the late 90s. I love it.
  • I got back control over my time.
  • I’m more focused in meetings.
  • And when I do check my email, my attention goes to the most important ones. I don’t end up wasting time reading forwards & offers.

I’m not suggesting or advising you to install this plugin!

I’m ordering you to do it.

Here’s the link. It’s free.

http://inboxpause.com/

Come back in a week and tell me about your new life! But don’t email me… cause I may not be checking it like my life depends on it!

2 Responses to “The Confessions of an E-mail Junkie: How I ditched checking email every few mins.”

  1. Sudhi says:

    Nice plugin.. would surely test in some of my mail accounts..

  2. Sam Blausten says:

    Great tip! I’m always advising people to not check their email all the time as it crushes productivity and flow, but this is a brilliant way to do it properly. Next step: a full email/task management extension like ActiveInbox!

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