There’s a great article in last Sunday’s New York Times about working in the knowledge economy. It’s worth reading for anyone who reads this blog as it contains some well-reasoned (and in some cases well-researched) advice. I would like to add one thing to his recommendations. Who here has felt overloaded by email? And more than once? Sometimes it feels like you don’t have enough time for your art because you’re spending all your time answering email.
Research has shown that the overhead required for an attentional shift is so great when we shift our focus from our art to email and back again several times a day we lose an opportunity to do our best work. Who says we need to read (and answer) email as soon as it comes in? How often is email an emergency? How about once a day, or perhaps just twice a day? Maybe you start out reading and answering email twice daily and graduated to once daily? Will the Earth stop spinning if you do? Unlikely. But it sure will give you more contiguous time to work on your art.