Often when we take time off work, we dread the return when we will be greeted by a mountain of email. We also fear either that decisions will be made without us or that we won’t be missed. Some of us fear that others will be upset because we haven’t responded to their emails or requests.
And yet, each time we come back from leave we’re reminded life goes on. Decisions are made, people find their own answers, and people are mostly happy to wait till we return. Our worry is often unfounded. And within a few days we are caught up.
And yet, the thought of taking two days to focus on a task, to hide away to complete something critical feels ‘impossible’ in the day to day grind. We tell ourselves lots of excuses why we can’t. There is comfort in the notifications. A sense of importance. Notifications remind us we are ‘seen’ and exist. Falsely, yes, but it is the trick they play.
Too often our identity is wrapped up in notifications and ‘being responsive’. It has become part of our culture. Social media thrives on it.
However, meaningful work often requires a different approach. Focused time. A different identity.
What could you do if you took 2 days of focused, uninterrupted time this week? Or didn’t check email, have meetings, etc. every morning? What would you build? Create?
Who would you become?
Notifications, meeting invitations, email doesn’t mean you exist. They are distractions from the work you need to do.