Looking for a sure way to sabotage your productivity or harsh your own mellow? Well, says Jeff Atwood, just check your email:
Most of the time you’ll end up a loser, the proud recipient of yet another spam email, a press release you don’t care about, or some irrelevant conversation someone has cc:ed you into.
Part of the problem, Atwood says, is that occasionally we get lucky, with an email that includes “an important bit of information you needed, or tentative contact from a long lost friend or associate, or other good news.” And this rare “good luck,” Atwood continues, conditions us to check email much more frequently than we should.
We’re so ecstatic to get that single useful email out of hundreds that we can’t keep ourselves from compulsively pressing the new email lever over and over and over, hoping it will happen again soon.
Atwood’s entire post is worth a read–if you’re not too busy checking email, that is.