Turn Off Email Notifications

I did the math and realized my phone buzzes or beeps once every 3.5 minutes during the average work day. Over 90% of that comes from email. It’s a miracle that I am able to pay attention to anything at all with that party going on in my pocket. And forget restful sleep – there’s no way. Email is huge a distraction in my life. Out of spite, I’ve started leaving my phone places. Unfortunately, that results in a nasty habit of missing worthwhile phone calls. To combat the distraction, I started a very simple experiment: turning off all email notifications on my phone and laptop. I intend to track productivity and see how things go. With any luck, I will find myself more engaged in work, meetings, conversation and social outings. Text messages and instant messenger are still fair game if you have something urgent to say. Otherwise, you’re shooting in the dark with an email – I’ll get back to you when I choose to (and not when my phone nags me to).

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The New Age Snow Day

I love the snow. I really do. I always have. On days like today where several brisk inches cause commute times to quadruple and Google Maps to flash black & red, I side with the general public against the nuisance. I don’t condemn the snow for that nuisance, however. I challenge the expectation that people try to tackle it and show up as usual anyway.

Not all jobs or educations can be accessed remotely. For retailers, you need bodies in the store. Most classrooms are not equipped to transmit lessons online. But for many new age companies, working remotely is completely feasible. You can sign in to instant messenger, transplant meetings into Google+ Hangouts, and plug yourself in. Stay warm, stay safe, stay home. And get more work done.

Sound like an unreasonable dream? Far less unreasonable to me than wasting three or four hours in your car without a shred of real work. Employers should see the productivity and time lost to snow. They should call a snow day and unveil a plan to continue operating internally. Far better to do that than expect a troop of soggy, frozen, and demotivated employees to walk through your door.