I spent the last five days skiing, and I used it, in part, to do email detox. That wasn’t my plan. But I just decided that I wanted to focus on my family, skiing, and the experience, in that order, and email (and Twitter, and the web) were a distraction. So I stopped reading email.
At first it was fairly traumatic. I kept thinking about the steady plonk of new messages, and I felt like I should be checking them. I still used my iPhone, albeit to keep track of family on the mountain, as well as to use the great Ski Tracks app to scorekeep my own up/down, speed, vertical stats. (Once a geek, always a geek.) But I didn’t check email, and limited twittering to sending out only a few “Whoa, dude” emails with powder photos attached. The biggest problem with the iPhone was that the damn email icon showed the growing number of unread emails, until I wised up and turned that “feature” off and could limit the iPhone to useful stuff (like that Ski Tracks app).
After a day or two, the email stress went away. I stopped caring about what was plonking in. (I stopped caring about what was in the news too, but that was a different matter.) I figured emergencies would stop being emergencies by the time I got back, and non-emergencies would either mutate into emergencies (see above), or become non-issues. Either way, I didn’t need to be involved.
I loved it. I could see myself committing entirely to this life: no email, no web. I felt — and I’m struggling for the right word here — less fragmented. Not that anything made more sense, but it felt less like the outside world was contributing to having things make less sense. I felt less fractured and pulled in competing directions. It’s been forever since I’ve been off email for days — I don’t even remember the last time, to be honest.
Email detox: Highly recommended. It worked for me. Hey, this feels like a memoir. Note to Random House.