Cutting the (electronic) umbilical cord.

Last week I wrote about the difficulty people have in unplugging from their email:

I've preached the gospel of setting aside uninterrupted work time to my clients, but with limited success. Environmental factors — among them, the (perceived) need to seem immediately responsive, the fear of missing an urgent email, the desire to have one's direct reports jump when called — and long-established work habits overwhelm the new ideas.

So what is to be done?

That's not a simple question to answer. There are many ways to improve the situation, depending on your particular work environment, your particular work requirements, and — most importantly — your idiosyncratic personal needs.

In general I eschew technological solutions to what are fundamentally human problems. However, recently I've been testing a web tool called Away Find which goes a long way towards reducing the anxiety produced by stepping away from your email. Without getting into too much detail, Away Find enables people who insist (absurdly) on using email when they need you right now to find you on your cell phone.

It's worth a try, and not just because it will give you a bit more confidence when you try to put some distance between your brain and your inbox. My guess is that you'll also realize that, well, the world will keep revolving even without your tender, second-by-second ministrations to its needs. And once you realize that, you'll truly be free to make some time to create some value for your customers.

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