Between email, MSN, Skype, SMS, and the office phone, I am pretty well “connected”. In fact, just flying over to the UK recently was strange as I was “offline” for four hours at a time! Wooooohhhhhh, shock, horror!!!!
Many people nowadays expect an immediate response. I cannot tell you how often I have had someone email me, only to call within a few minutes just because I have not yet replied. Most work, especially branding and web design for me, requires a good deal of concentration and quiet time. Two or three hours of uninterrupted productivity can easily equal an entire eight hour day of “work” when that work is constantly interrupted with emails, phone calls, etc.
One of the best things that I did a few years ago was turn off the “new mail notifier” in Mac Mail. When I really want to get work done, I might hit the “do not disturb” button on my phone and turn my mobile phone to “silent” mode as well.
This can apply to social events as well. Sometimes when Alice and I go to dinner I’ll leave the mobile at home – just to be unaccessible for an hour or two. Unless you happen to be on-call for work, there is not very much in life that won’t wait that long for you to respond to it – and the peace and quiet of an uninterrupted evening with friends or family is worth it.
So, turn off that email notifier, shut down instant messenger, and turn off your cell phone. Instead get some really creative work done, or spend some time with someone important to you, or just read a book. You’ll thank yourself.