Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/21/email_addiction_programme/

Email addicts offered 12-step detox

First up: admit you have a problem

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 21st February 2007 09:50 GMT

A Pennsylvania "executive coach" is offering hopeless email addicts a 12-step detox programme "designed to tackle their obsession", Reuters reports.

Marsha Egan, who claims email "abuse" can cost US business millions in lost productivity, cites the chilling cases of "a golfer who checked his BlackBerry after every shot" and a client who "cannot walk by a computer - her own or anyone else's - without checking for messages".

Egan's approach is simple. First up, junkies need to "admit that email is managing you". She advises: "Let go of your need to check email every 10 minutes."

The recovery programme then advises patients to "commit to keeping your inbox empty", "establish regular times to review your email", and "deal immediately with any email that can be handled in two minutes or less but create a file for mails that will take longer".

Egan answered a call for help from insurance agent Michelle Grace, who receives 60 emails a day* and "uses [the] program to make it less time-consuming and less stressful". She now transfers emails automatically or manually into files for later consumption. Accordingly, she "spends less time hunting for them" and does not now feel the need to check her inbox every five minutes.

She's also advised colleagues not to email her if they need an urgent chinwag. She said: "I told them, 'If you need me urgently, pick up the phone'." ®

Bootnote

*We assume this figure excludes spam, otherwise Ms Grace can consider herself extremely fortunate.