The short answer is: I couldn’t tell you.
I remember the first email check of the day, but after that, things get hazy.
First thing yesterday morning, I remember still being in bed and taking my phone off “airplane / alarm clock” mode. Even though I know better, I just couldn’t resist hitting the gmail app … and then the outlook app for work email. I was cognizant of not wanting to get sucked into the emails, but I still burnt up two to three minutes just scanning through and opening a few of the most interesting messages.
After that, I think I checked email again while eating breakfast, and then I probably checked in the car on the way to work.
I have a morning routine when I get to the office that expressly avoids email checking, and yet some days I just can’t resist one more peak before starting the routine. Yesterday was one of those days where I had to peak.
So we’re up four email check-ins and I haven’t even begun my work day.
From 8:30 to 5, I literally can’t fathom how many times I might have checked email. Let’s say somewhere between 10-20 times.
But wait. I’m a regular checker of my primary gmail, office outlook, and secondary yahoo accounts. Which means we need to revise this upward by a factor of three. So let’s say total email checks were between 30-60.
*Note: The great thing about tertiary (and beyond) email accounts is that you don’t check them regularly because there’s nothing compelling there. (**Secondary Note: – until there is. In which case, checking spikes to multiple times per day but quickly drops back off to zero after the Craigslist transaction is done … or the deal is complete on your new car lease … or that secret twitter account you run stops getting @replies.)
After work, I checked email in the car between work and home.
When I got home, I checked email before I put my phone on the charger — not to be looked at again until after my daughter’s bedtime.
You guessed it. I checked email right after laying my daughter in the crib.
My wife was out late, so I fired up the laptop to catch up on personal tasks, blogging, etc… And I checked email probably three or four more times while doing these chores.
I checked email right before I went to bed. Then, I turned my phone to “airplane / alarm clock” mode.
Stop the presses. I checked email when I first woke up this morning.
By a rough count, I checked email 43-73 times yesterday.
It might be more.
So, basically… We can easily reason from my behavior that…
I am insane.
But I know I’m not alone.
Far from it.
Digital detachment is my goal.