What stands between us and meaningful work? Email!
It is killing our productivity and distracting us from the creative work we crave, yet we spend over a quarter of our work week on it. What is behind our addiction and what can we do about it?
Jocelyn Glei, author of the book, Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done, explains the science behind our addiction and offers strategies for prioritizing meaningful work. Jocelyn is the founding editor of 99U and editor of three productivity books, including the bestseller, Manage Your Day-to-Day.
In this interview, we talk about:
The challenge of living in an age of distraction
Why it is easier to be busy than to focus on meaningful work
How, on average, we check email 11 times an hour and process 122 emails daily
How we spend over a quarter of work time on email
How the random rewards of email keep us addicted
How completion bias makes us strive for inbox zero
How designs like progress bars and percentages speak to our completion bias
How our negativity bias influences every email that we read
How empathy, emoticons, and punctuation can compensate for negativity bias
The fact that email goes awry because of a missing social feedback loop
How empathy goes a long way in overcoming email negativity bias
Email is great for asking but awful for declining
The difference between an email asker and an email guesser
What it means to do creative, meaningful work
Steps we can take to ensure meaningful work rules the day
The role momentum plays in doing meaningful work
Why we need to synchronize calendars with to-do lists
How scarcity of time and resources impacts capacity, mindset, and attitude
Tech setups to help us avoid frequent email checks
How the best way to fail at email is to rely on program defaults
Why the more we check our email, the less happy we are
How segmenting emails senders helps us decide which emails to ready by when
The fact that not all email messages are created equal
How quickly we respond to emails sets expectations
How to ensure your emails stand out
How productivity can be about what we choose not to do
Why we need to spend more time deciding than doing
Why it is about leaving a legacy
Selected Links to Topics Mentioned
B. F. Skinner
Daniel Goleman and emotional intelligence
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much
Manage Your Day to Day
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Thank you to Emmy-award-winning Creative Director Vanida Vae for designing the Curious Minds logo, and thank you to Rob Mancabelli for all of his production expertise!