Sarah Green, looking into “the daily routines of geniuses” from the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry. One finding:
A clear dividing line between important work and busywork. Before there was email, there were letters. It amazed (and humbled) me to see the amount of time each person allocated simply to answering letters. Many would divide the day into real work (such as composing or painting in the morning) and busywork (answering letters in the afternoon). Others would turn to the busywork when the real work wasn’t going well. But if the amount of correspondence was similar to today’s, these historical geniuses did have one advantage: the post would arrive at regular intervals, not constantly as email does.
It would be great to go back to such a world, where interruptions arrived but once a day. But I do wonder if there’s a way to simulate that through scheduling and discipline…
I love everything about this post.
I hate email at work. It’s overused and a distraction. Worse is the attitude. If I don’t reply within 30 minutes, it’s not because I’m disrespecting your time, it’s because I’m busy with real work.
Email has it’s uses, it’s just been over used.