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Staying Productive in the Age of Distraction

Cartoon drawing from book with character pulling lever on machine with envelopes coming out slot below.  Titled: The Mystery Lever

In the midst of a very distracted life and busy time preparing for the CIT Conference, I discovered this new book Unsubscribe by Jocelyn Glei.  She was discussing on NPR how e-mail has become an impediment to productivity, rather than a tool for getting things done.

The point that caught my attention is that psychologically, e-mail is a bit like a slot machine.  We pull the lever and hope for a reward – some connection from a person you weren’t expecting, some information that will help you get a project finished, or some good news.  But most of the time, we end up with spam and meaningless messages that we have to manage.

She makes the point that we should schedule time to check e-mail, rather than doing it randomly.  It is a good lesson for me that I will try to implement -and wanted to pass it along to CIT Members in the spirit of Advice for Digital Immigrants.

I do also want to point out the irony of my sending this note via e-mail.  I don’t think you will be thinking that you hit the e-mail jackpot when you read this, but I hope that you will find it helpful as you consider the ways to make e-mail an effective tool once again.