While I was spending a self-proclaimed week away from e-mail, internet, and texts, I got to thinking about the extent to which various electronic communication can run our lives. How many times have you gone to send an e-mail (take an action) and ending up responding to several items in your in-box (reactions)?

I’ve seen some very cogent arguments to limit checking your e-mail to twice a day (or less). I decided this would be a good way to start my way back into the electronic world. Today was Day 1 and I failed miserably. One of my e-mail accounts was not receiving messages and I tracked it down to needing to change nameservers. (If you happen to have sent anything to billy@exhilaratedlearning.com since December 20, please send it again ☺.) As I worked my way through a couple hundred messages, I realized that few of them had significant value and only a very few were in the least bit urgent. There was nothing that couldn’t wait at least half a workday.

Thus a couple of possible other solutions: instead of relying on all the e-mails, discussion lists, social media, and other forms of communication with high noise to signal ratios, what about using Viagrape – getting news via the grapevine; allowing word of mouth and conversations to replace unnecessary screen time? How about Cial-text – turning off the cell phone and taking a break from the onslaught of texts and calls?

A big payoff is the opportunity to select high-value activities and the good feeling of being more in control of your time. The pictures on the sides show some of the things I was doing instead of e-mail last week. All the best for a wonderful 2012.

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