Somewhere just before 8 on Wednesday morning last week, I unilaterally declared it would be a no email day for me. I was going to go the rest of the day without looking at email. Now mind you, I had already processed well more than 150 new emails across four accounts by that time in the morning-but in that moment I had enough and I was going to take a day off.
Some background to keep everyone up to speed. First, just how (over) connected I am. I carry three phones which all have the ability to send and receive text messages and generally access seven email accounts (five are mine of which one is work and two belong to the girls). Along with this, generally people get hold of me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Four Square.
I don’t think that is hugely unique, but there is also no shortage of inbound data that needs to be processed and call it 65% of the time responded to.
The other factor that added to this monumental decision (and ultimate failure) was the middle of the school vacation week that my girls enjoyed. I was home with them on the Friday before Passover and Easter and the Monday following. The plan was for me to go into the office Tuesday through Thursday and then take a work from home (child care issue) on Friday. That part was pretty manageable.
The factor I did not add in was the split in the schedule for the girls. Without school-they were up to 11 (we even had a sleepover one of the nights I had to work) which generally meant I was up anywhere from an hour to two hours later than usual. That did not impact me on the time I woke up though-I was still at the gym at 4:15 so sleep was at a premium for the week. The usual routine is that when I get home from the gym I make some coffee, take a shower and begin the daily caffination.
On Wednesday I forgot to make the coffee before hitting the shower. Since the sitter was coming at 6:30 and I was racing for the 7:19 train (usually I am on the 7:57) I figured I would catch up with coffee in the city and skipped making the coffee.
With email across all the accounts tumbling in-some of it of the spam nature, some of it actionable, some it with me on the “CC” line so others can CYA and no coffee in the system I had enough. Right there on the train with two of my friends I declared it would be a non-email day.
A bold prediction for someone carrying the three phones, two laptops and iPad in their work bag that day.
As the morning train hit the platform in Penn Station I put some Grateful Dead on for the subway and headed off to be email free. I stopped to pick up a cup of coffee from the coffee cart lady and hit the office. As I did, I ran into one of the senior managers in my division at Verizon. He wanted to review a spreadsheet he had sent me earlier in the morning.
“Sounds great. Can you pull it up though? It’s a non-email day for me,” I told him.
“A what?” he asked.
“Never mind,” I said. “Just let me get into this coffee.”
And so no-email day ended before 9AM and less than 10 minutes after hitting the office.