Marsha Egan, an email productivity expert and CEO of Egan Email Solutions, has just developed an innovative 12-step program for battling email addiction. Her methods, which have helped companies nation-wide implement better corporate e-mail practices, now are available to help individuals who feel enslaved by the constant surge of email and who feel tied to their portable email delivery devices.
Egan’s clients have included a golfer who checked his BlackBerry after every shot, and lost a potential client who wanted nothing to do with his obsession, and a woman who cannot walk by a computer — her own or anyone else’s — without checking for messages. Other people will not vacation anywhere they cannot connect to their e-mail systems. “Some wait for e-mails and send themselves a message if one hasn’t shown up in several minutes,” Egan says.
“There is a crisis in corporate America, but a lot of CEOs don’t know it,” Egan said. “They haven’t figured out how expensive it is.”
E-mail addicts say that Egan’s expertise couldn’t come at a better time as e-mail addictions are coming out of the closet and receiving significant press coverage. In a recent Wall Street Journal front page story called “Deleting the Habit: How Email Junkies Do In Withdrawl”, a fellow named Jeff Clark reported, “Email was like cocaine,” says Mr. Clark, a 24-year-old graphic designer in Boston who says he became anxious after a few hours away from his digital drug and would check messages to help him get back to sleep when he woke up during the night. So while visiting his family in Florida, he resolved to quit for five days.”
”E-mail addiction is an unseen productivity blocker,” says Egan who continually produces eBooks to help her clients remain abreast of ever-changing e-mail techniques and productivity solutions. “While email has allowed all of us to communicate faster and spread incredible amounts of information, it also adds an immense amount of work to most peoples’ already hectic lives. Now, we have become a nation so reliant on e-mail that if our internet connection shuts down for an hour, we feel lost, unable to accomplish anything.”
Egan argues that when e-mail was introduced, there were no guidelines on how to use it. Consequently, individuals developed bad e-mail habits—like using e-mail as an urgent delivery device—which have turned us into a nation of e-mail addicts. “Once people start expecting these “urgent” e-mails, it becomes impossible for them to turn off their computer, or leave their BlackBerry at home. I tell my clients that the first step towards overcoming e-mail addiction is to let everyone know that if there is a matter that requires immediate attention, pick up the phone!”
Specific tips Egan offers from her 12-step E-mail E-ddiction Detox Program are:
- Set up rules for e-mail use: Let all of your clients and co-workers know how you prefer to use e-mail, and then practice what you preach.
- Turn off automatic send and receive: It may seem hard, but learning to check your e-mail only at designated intervals prevents productivity loss due to email distraction and that will decrease immensely.
- Regain control of e-mail by reconsidering its function: E-mails shouldn’t trump the rest of your work, it should just be another factor in your day. Lessen email addiction by learning how to manage, sort, prioritize, then delete all of your e-mails.
For more information about Marsha Egan and her Coaching, ebook, and Teleseminar Programs, as well as the “12-step E-mail E-ddiction Detox Program”, go to www.eganemailsolutions.com