Get Out of the InBOX

Liz Presson • 9 October 2014

I freaked out when I found out the internet wasn’t working in the house we stayed at in Greece last week.

“They’re working on it” wasn’t what I wanted to hear. So, I anxiously waited, like everyone else— some of us more intense than others. But after a couple of hours, I noticed that I was feeling more like myself than I had in a while. I could feel myself opening up and enjoying the moment. And I even found a way to be zen about my pending connection.

After a day and a half, we were back in business. I checked my email— scrolling through 133 missed messages. Some were important and urgent, like “this release needs to go out” and some were as trivial as “buy this event ticket.”

When I finally set my phone down, I realized my mood had changed. I felt…

In a way, validated: I felt needed! As I expected, people need me. While that’s overwhelming, let’s be honest, we all want to be needed.

In my head: I thought after I checked my email I’d be more present. I’d know everything was okay and be able to focus on what was on front of me. Instead I drifted away to my mental to do list instead of really showing up in conversations.

Self conscious: I had to take some time to think about it, but something about my email made me feel self conscious. My theory? Hundreds of messages, all asking for something different, make us feel like we’re letting the people who need us down.

So, I decided I’d do my best to check and answer emails at one specific time a day. I’ve always strived to do that, but it’s been a struggle. It wasn’t realistic for me to put email away for the week, but to be around successful people who did encouraged me to stick with it.

The biggest surprise was how fast I got things done. Only having a small chunk of time to read and answer (note: not just read) made me super effective, and I had to be more honest in communications. i.e. “This needs work, but I’m busy. Spend some more time on it and run with it.”

Bottom line? I got stuff done and enjoyed myself more than I have in a long time.

Oh, and now my friends have a new nickname for the more zen (and fun) version of myself— “no wifi Liz.”

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