Belated Happy New Year everyone. Today I am traveling back to New York — weather and air traffic permitting — after a great family ski vacation in Colorado. As announced at the end of last year I took a break from (most) email and also largely from social media, other than occasionally looking at Twitter. The net result was that I had time to read several books, including the wonderful Age of Wonder (thanks to Ed Cooke who gave me a copy), Abundance, much delayed Guns, Germs and Steel, and an advance copy of The Second Machine Age (thanks to Erik Brynjolfsson). I was also able to prepare for my talk at DLD — more on that in an upcoming blog post.
One clear conclusion from this break is that freeing myself from email has huge benefits. I will therefore from now on stick with having an auto responder on my email. The exact wording may change over time, but it will say something to the effect that I can’t answer every email (and will probably point to this post). I have found this to be amazingly liberating over the last two weeks. No longer do I feel compelled to look at email first thing in the morning and last thing at night because I am now responding to a significantly smaller number of emails. I expect that this will also make tools such as priority inbox more effective.
An important additional benefit of freeing myself from email is that it helps keep my calendar more open. How so? Well, I have a hard time saying no to meeting requests. And by answering most if not all of the request emails that came in, I wound up over scheduled. Between this change and being more disciplined with scheduling generally, I am excited about having more time in 2014 to think and pro-actively seek out new opportunities.
PS: Because I will be on flights without wifi for most of the day, please don’t expect timely responses to comments on this post.