Andrew Hetherington for Newsweek Share Culture Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, whom most people know as the diminutive former child stars of Full House and an endless stream of straight-to-video tween movies, are inspecting a rolling rack of crisp white cotton shirts and another one lined with black stretch-leather leggings seemingly sized for miniature gazelles. The L-shaped workspace, brightly lit with fluorescent lights, smells vaguely of steam irons and fried rice. They built a billion-dollar empire on the cult of celebrity, adoring kiddie fans, and a vast array of tchotchkes.
Email addiction is the accepted neurosis of our peer group. I, too, have grown increasingly attached to the dopamine highs of email interactions. Nurturing this dependency is the external pressure to be constantly connected.
Many expect that emails are read within hours of being sent; people give positive feedback for instantaneous responses. Skepticism of this pressure to stay connected has inspired people to take space from email.
The New York Times ran several recent articles about how some companies have begun enforcing off-email hours. Researcher danah boyd writes about how to take a planned email sabbatical once a year.
And eminent computer scientist Donald Knuth has been taking an email sabbatical since So when my editor at The Daily Muse proposed—via group email—the idea of taking an email sabbatical and writing about it, I was intrigued.
At the time, it was 10 days before the beginning of the fall semester, and I was making steady progress on my thesis work.
As a PhD student, I had the luxury of taking on this experiment, as summer email tends to be slow for academics.
I had been especially fascinated by being off email while doing work, so I gave myself one day to tie up loose ends and dove in. The conditions of the sabbatical were that I remain logged out of my email for 10 days, though I could still use newsweek science writer jobs, text, and instant messaging.
To prepare, I emailed affected collaborators and set up an automatic email response telling people how to reach me for urgent affairs.
To prevent myself from accidentally checking in, I deleted the email app from my phone and used the LeechBlock Firefox add-on to prevent email access from my browser.
I Was Able to Focus Much Better The hardest part of the sabbatical was not being able to use email as a distraction when faced with a task I did not want to do.
Without being able to distract myself with the pseudo-productivity of answering non-urgent questions and scheduling meetings far in the future, I had to actually focus on the task at hand.
It Was Liberating to Not Have to Make Decisions About Email I had never realized how much time and energy I spent refreshing my inbox, being thrown off by an unexpected email, and deciding when and how to reply to a message.
Not having to make any decisions about email helped both my focus and my stress levels. It took me approximately 30 minutes to go through most of these messages. Note that, as expected, there were some logistical difficulties involved with being off email.
There were a few documents I had anticipated receiving for a meeting, and I had to ask the senders to send them to my officemate, who printed the contents for me. Handling online orders was tricky, so I tried to avoid that when possible.
There was an incident where I thought I had ordered something but failed to confirm the order. There was also some suspense about event planning and emails I was expecting back, but I figured people would call if there was anything urgent.
Overall, though, I confirmed that I do not need to obsessively check email in order to lead a fulfilling and productive life.
Batch My Email Correspondence Knuth recommends handling large quantities of correspondence at once—for instance, once every three months—but once a day seems to be a more appropriate goal for me.
So far, I average checking email two to three times a day, which is already a vast improvement from being continuously connected to my email.
If I Have to Open My Email, Focus on the Task at Hand Email is often the easiest way for exchanging work-related notes and documents, as well as important logistical information.
Even if I need to open my email, however, it is possible not to get sucked in if I force myself to do only that one task. In the end, taking an email sabbatical helped me break the semi-physical habit of compulsive email checking, as well as establish the perspective that breaking the habit is worthwhile.
While not all of us live in worlds where we can eschew email for good like Knuth, we could all stand to reset once in a while.Jun 05, · Miss Peer joined Newsweek in as a copy clerk and became a Washington correspondent, general editor of the back-of-the-book section and Paris bureau chief. In , a report by Miss Peer on the Ethiopia-Somalia war won an Overseas Press Club award.
Newsweek’s Artificial Intelligence & Data Science in Capital Markets An abundance of cheap and powerful computing capacity is bringing artificial intelligence to bear on an ocean of data, across a range of industrial applications.
Sharon Begley is the senior science writer at STAT, the life sciences publication of the Boston srmvision.comusly she was the senior health & science correspondent at Reuters (), the science editor and science columnist at Newsweek ( to ), and the science columnist at The Wall Street Journal ( to ).
Newsweek's relaunch has focused new attention on the young and relatively inexperienced men now at the helm of the newsweekly, reports Jon Swaine.
Feb 05, · Newsweek fires top editor, deputy editor and at least one reporter after unflattering stories By Stephen Rex Brown and Graham Rayman Feb 05, | . The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace [Lynn Povich] on srmvision.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
It was the s--a time of economic boom and social strife. Young women poured into the workplace, but the Help Wanted ads were segregated by gender and the Mad Men office culture was rife with sexual stereotyping and .