Ok, I’ve realised that I am being bothered so much that I can no longer be productive. By friends or colleagues? No, all my own doing unfortunately. Throughout the day I am constantly interrupted with important information such as a new work email, a new personal email, a new blog post, etc etc. The amount of things I had automatically checking and notifiying me was a bit large. Suddenly inspiration hits with a little help from Merlin Mann over at 43 Folders.
So last week I took the plunge. I turned off automatic mail checking in Lotus Notes for my work email, uninstalled my mail notifier for my personal mail and kept my feed readers closed (Liferea for internal feeds behind the firewall and Google Reader for everything else). I made sure all my RSS feeds were split up into categories so I could process them more efficiently (blogs in priorities 1 to 4 plus some extra feeds separately such as comments on this blog or on my Flickr photos, twitter updates of interest etc. I also customized some of my feeds such as Twitter using Feed Rinse. This allowed me to filter the feed so that I only show updates from particular people, and only those that are @replies to me etc – I really don’t need to make sure I miss every single tweet from everyone I follow!
So now with this new setup in place I’m trying to only check my mail and feeds once in the morning, once in the afternoon and maybe once before I leave the office. If I happen to be at the computer in the evening or weekend then I can check my personal stuff if I feel the need. I certainly feel more in control and I haven’t seen a problem with it yet – if anyone expects an immediate reply to an email, they should contact me by phone or instant message! We’ll see how this goes…
For anyone that’s interested, I highly recommend watching Merlin’s recent MacWorld presentation on ‘Attention Sinks & Time Burglars‘. I’d also recommend any of his other presentations, particularly Inbox Zero.