For years the first thing I did upon waking was visit my computer to see what had transpired over the night. Were there personnel problems at the company I worked for? Were there banking issues? Was someone trying to reach me with a problem? I couldn’t resist taking a peek at the day’s challenges even before I brushed my teeth.
A couple months ago I tried something new. Before I went to bed, I closed my email program. And before I opened it in the morning I dressed, had a cup of coffee, and practiced piano, one of the loves of my life. I found my brain was more focused on the things in my personal life that are important. Previously, my brain concentrated on the emails that had come in overnight.
Now I’ve taken this a step farther. I don’t keep my email program – that would be Outlook – open all the time. Instead, I read my incoming messages, send responses or add items to my daily To Do list, and then log off. So I don’t hear the gentle “ding” of an incoming message and don’t have to resist the urge to see who sent it. You’d be amazed at how much time this has freed for other pursuits.
I can practice piano for an hour and then log back on. Those people in my inbox haven’t waited that long. I can log off and finish my work before checking in again. It might be a couple hours, but I’m still responding promptly. I can even have lunch without feeling I should be at my desk.
The Internet is a wonderful thing, but we need to use it for our own benefit and not the other way around.