I took it as a good sign when a friend said to me the big change she noticed when I left my job was I that it took me longer to respond to email.
This new behavior wasn’t automatic on my part: I was checking for email on my phone when I realized my behavior was absurd. I mean, I didn’t have a forcing function (such as a job) so why was I bothering with any frequency to check my email?
Habit. There is power in routine. Having set defaults to get to bed on time, or drink enough water, or sit and meditate help me to accomplish these things on a daily basis. The rote email checking, just like my tendency to always say yes to dessert, is a bad habit.
So I should probably change my default. I suppose this is where mindfulness comes in, improving my ability to make the distinction between useful and necessary activity and vague feelings of responsibility to be doing something. Too often, I think checking email offers the illusion of paying attention in a meaningful way.
Starting a new job is a good time to reset defaults. I would love to claim credit for this idea all on my own, but the truth is I got locked out of my new work email account. Which should not bother me in the slightest over the weekend. That’s absurd.
I’m in the habit of checking the forecast on Sunday night to see how evil the week is going to be. This Wednesday is apparently going to be a steaming ninety-six degrees without any sunlight:
Sweltering while basking in the light of an astronomically impossible full moon — that’s not gonna be good.
Whenever I see the staring red eye of my voicemail light I think, “if you really loved me, you’d send me email.” I had to deal with the light when I went in to the office today. The message I heard contained possibly the longest and most clueless stringing together of buzzwords ever in one almost-sentence: “web development, interaction design, css, ajax, flex, lots of web 2 technologies, user experience, and information architecture.”
Note to companies looking to hire people who “get” the web: clueless recruiters are the wrong approach. They sound bad, and that makes your company sound bad.
Why would anyone who gets it want to go work for a company that so clearly doesn’t get it they can’t even find a headhunter who sounds even an eensy weensy bit convincing on voicemail that they get it? A stratospheric level of cluelessness isn’t a rewarding challenge to take on, it’s annoying. If you are exposed to it long enough, it will suck the will to think and live right out of you.