I recently read a fantastic piece by Dr. Jim Harter at Harvard Business Review. Its title asks a simple question: “Should Employers Ban Email After Work Hours?” The whole article is a great read, one of the best I’ve seen on email and work productivity, but one thing in particular caught my interest: the author’s discussion of what he calls the “evaluating self” vs. the “experiencing self”. I think this is a great way to look at how we feel not only about email, but about work/life balance in general. Basically, when researchers at Gallup (where Harter is a Chief… Continue reading A Self Divided: Evaluating, Experiencing, and Email
Years ago, I read a book called The Paradox of Choice, in which the author, Barry Schwartz, describes the very modern dilemma of being paralyzed by choice (you can watch his TED talk on the subject here). Basically, he talks about how in the Western world we are constantly confronted with a nearly limitless array of options, for everything from blue jeans to laptops to flavors of jam at the supermarket. And rather than making our lives easier, having so many options often stresses us the hell out. 54 Flavors = 53 Losses Say I stop by the store to… Continue reading Great Expectations: Why Letting People Know What You Want is the Nicest Thing You Can Do
I recently reread a great article over at Gizmodo by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan: “Google Can’t Fix What’s Really Wrong With Email: Us”. The article is specifically about Google’s launch last fall of their email management tool, Inbox. However, I think the article is also useful as a broad reminder of what we really mean when we talk about the problem of email. Here’s the author’s description of Gmail Inbox: “It ‘bundles’ related emails into single-topic threads, and even adds relevant info. It gives you the ability to ‘snooze’ emails…it pulls out important info from certain emails so you don’t have to… Continue reading Email Is Not the Problem. We Are.
When we think about ‘peace of mind’, it’s easy to think of it as just a lack of stress—but ‘lack of stress’ would actually be a horrible, life-threatening state that you shouldn’t wish on your worst enemies. Allow me to explain. Back when I was in junior high, my dad was my health and sex-ed teacher—why yes, it was very awkward! Thank you for asking!—and one of the things he taught us that stuck with me the most was about the two kinds of stress: distress and eustress. Distress is what it sounds like—the thing that damsels are always getting… Continue reading The Good (Stress), The Bad (Stress), and The Email
Timyo began its life with one short question: “What went wrong with email?” In just a few years, email has gone from one of the great new conveniences of the Internet Age to a cause of persistent and increasing anxiety that seems to take ever more time, energy, and patience, until we shudder at the mere thought of checking our inboxes. How did this happen? And more importantly: what can be done about it? What went wrong is a long story, but it basically amounts to two simple truths: email has been saddled with a bunch of jobs that it… Continue reading What went wrong with email?