Successful entrepreneurs share an almost obsessive focus on creating a high-performance culture and being known for one product, service or something that differentiates their company in its market. In fact, all high-performers have an almost obsessive focus on engaging with what is most important to them. But, most of us can’t resist the lure of our e-mail, and that distraction breaks our focus.
So why can’t we resist the temptation of e-mail? It’s actually all in your brains. Clicking on an e-mail gives you a shot of the neurotransmitter dopamine, the brain chemical that facilitates movement and emotion and is like getting a “hit of happiness”.
According to the American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV an addiction must meet at least three of the following seven criteria. Do you have an e-mail addiction? Answer yes or no to the following:
1. Significant time or energy spent. Have you spent a significant amount of time e-mailing? Have you ever concealed or minimized your use? Have you ever e-mailed during times you shouldn’t?
2. Withdrawal. Have you experienced physical or emotional withdrawal when you have been off e-mail for extended periods, including anxiety, irritability, shakes or sweats?
3. Limited control. Do you sometimes e-mail more than you would like? Do you sometimes get lost in e-mail or use it as an escape?
4. Negative consequences. Have you continued to e-mail even though there have been negative consequences to your, health, job, or family?
5. Neglected or postponed activities. Have you ever put off or reduced social, recreational, work, or household activities because of e-mailing?
6. Tolerance. Do you find that you are spending more and more time e-mailing?
7. Desire to cut down. Have you thought about cutting down or controlling your use? Have you ever made unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control your use?
Staying mindful that e-mail is truly biologically seductive, turning it off when working on other things and choosing when to engage with it, will make you more productive and might help you to maintain that all-important focus on what’s really important.
Will e-mail seduce you? Or, will you have the will to resist?