Incessant email checking is probably one of the greatest hurdles to productivity. How many people do you see that are always on their crackberries trying to look important? In the middle of a conversation with you, you will see them constantly fidgeting and eventually pull out the blackberry or iphone and check it over and over again. As Muslims we should give the person we are speaking to our undivided attention. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) would make his guest feel like the only person in the world in conversation. I used to be one of those who felt the need to check email over 30 times per day. I then realized how much time I was actually loosing. Cutting down drastically on email can actually add a couple of hours to your daily productivity. The hours saved can be used to get more work done or simply increase knowledge of deen. Also keep in mind that information overload adds to your stress and can make you prone to sickness and other diseases. Here is what I do to stop checking email so much.
1. My blackberry email is turned off most of the day. Before doing this looking at my email would be the first thing I’d do when waking up in the morning. This was obsession.
2. I check email only three times per day. Once when I sit down to work, again after lunch then again right before finishing up for the day. I do this for work and personal email.
3. I get people in the habit of calling me if it is something that is really important. The problem with emailing and texting is the human component is lost. Can you imagine the Messenger of Allah (SAW) sending a text to his wife Ayesha (RA) to get his wudu water ready?
4. When I am expecting something from a client I will turn my blackberry on. However I am not checking it all while it is on.
5. When replying to email, I do so in five sentences or less in most cases. In cases of texts I am even shorter. If it is a client that I am helping then I may go over this. However in most cases I will just pick up the phone or organize a video conference.
Conquering the need to incessantly check email is freedom in deed. It is something about it that makes me feel uncluttered and less stressed. I know everything we see in media tells us that we need to be in the loop or informed at all times. I just realized that I was putting my family at risk by my blackberry/iphone behaviors. So hang up the phone/email/text and start treating people like human beings. Stop bringing your blackberry to bed with you, to the dinner table etc.