How I Ended My Email Addiction (or The Story of My Techcation)

For more info on managing your social media time, check out Twitter in 10 Minutes a Day



Hey, this is is Laura Roeder. So I’m just finishing up a little vacation that I just took. I called it a techcation, because I was here at home, but I decided to take some time away from Twitter, from social media, and really limit my computer use. I’m going to check email once a day because usually I’m on the computer all day long. And I really wanted to break that addiction, to break that habit not be on the computer all day or when I am on the computer, be more productive.

It was a really interesting week. It was a really fun week, and I definitely learned some things about productivity. And I would consider myself someone whose productivity was pretty high to start with. I usually don’t have a huge problem like getting things done and getting myself motivated, but it can definitely be much better and definitely have a big room for improvement. And what I learned during my week away is that for me, the computer is the biggest time stack. I mean, for some people, it might be video games, or for some people, it might be TV. But for me, it’s really just browsing the Web, reading people’s blogs, things like that.

So I learned that when I’m not sure what to do next or what I should be doing, I need to close down the computer and I need to step away and decide what I’m going to do next even if it just takes me like 30 seconds to decide what I want to do with the rest of my day. Because what I was doing before is, you know, I would have my little to-do-list, do something on the list and then I think, “Which here on the list do I feel like doing next? Maybe I feel like going to the grocery store now. I don’t know.”

So, I would sit around and maybe check a blog or something like that or maybe get on Twitter, and, you know, an hour passes before I get anything done, because the computer, the Web really sucks me in.

So for me, whenever I’m not sure what I’m doing next, I need to physically step away from being on the computer and I imagine the odds are really good and that’s true for you as well. Now, it doesn’t mean that you can never read Twitter or you can never read blogs. All that stuff is actually an important part of my job and something that I’m going to continue to do just because I like to and I think it’s fun. But it’s all about being conscious of that time deciding I’m going to read blogs for half an hour now, I’m going to get on Twitter for 10 minutes now, being conscious of that instead of just sort of meandering in and out of productive and unproductive work all day.

So if you find that you’re addicted to Twitter or you’re addicted to email or whatever it is, I really recommend that you take a step back. And it doesn’t – you know, for me, I wasn’t going to just give up my work for a week, so I still checked email, I still got on the computer. I just cut the time way, way back. So it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing, and I really recommend that you give it a try.

[0:02:48] End of Audio

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About Laura Roeder

Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who gives businesses of all sizes the tools they need to make their mark on the web. She is the creator of the social media scheduling software Edgar, as well as social media marketing web courses like Creating Fame and Social Brilliant.


  1. You *look* different after this experiment, v. relaxed!
    .-= Elizabeth Potts Weinstein´s last blog ..“Modeling” Sucks! =-.

  2. Great point. I know what you mean.
    I use a timer and make myself get up and do something away from the computer when it goes off. Helps me keep my focus and remember that I’m using up time. Plus I get some housework done as well.

  3. Protector one says:

    Madam, please STEP AWAY. FROM. THE COMPUTER.
    Ok, duly noted.

  4. I just took a 5 day trip to NYC with my daughter and left the laptop at home so I could focus on my daughter and our time together. (I did still check emails, tweeted a few times and made a few calls on my iPhone). But, the amazing thing was that I not only felt a difference in myself and my level of relaxation and connection with my daughter, but my daughter also appreciated our time together (unplugged).

    Now, after seeing your video, I completely agree with the level of productivity that is actually sucked away by the internet. Using a timer and disciplining ourselves is KEY to a higher level of productivity! Great job @lkr!

  5. You DO look much more relaxed. Yes it is very easy to get sucked in to being “busy” even if it isn’t productive. I like your strategy of closing the computer since I am exactly the same – I get SUCKED IN and it SUCKS TIME! Thanks for the Vlog, Laura.

    Best, Wendy
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..10 Surprising Ways that Twitter Has Helped My Business…and Ideas On How it Can Help Yours Too =-.

  6. Hey this is exactly what happens to me i get sucked by the web and my productivity gets low I´m going to try this out thanks for pointing out that addiction that i think many of us have
    .-= Rodrigo´s last blog ..Fontplore Check it out!! =-.

  7. I recently finished a month long roadtrip and it had a very similar outcome for me. Driving through the middle of nowhere meant no phone service even, so I wasn’t even checking my e-mail/messages, etc. when I was out there.

    Finishing that was very refreshing. Now I get a lot of work done in a single sitting and after a couple hours I’m done with being on the computer.
    .-= Carl´s last blog ..Today I Am Lost Again =-.

  8. I’m currently reading Tim Ferriss’s 4-hour work week, which is encouraging me to the same- go on an information diet.

    I’m working on closing email except for 1 dedicated hour per day (I used to have it open 10 hours per day).

    I also used to use the gmail notification bar for mac, which doesn’t help the email addiction.

  9. Great stuff, Laura. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve been doing this not only to break my addition to email and the Internet, but to do some old fashioned “get out a pen and paper and brainstorm ideas” stuff that I find much more fun than constantly hammering away at a keyboard.

  10. Hey Laura,

    Great post.

    I know what you mean by being sucked into unproductive time with social media without first choosing to do so…

    You’re great on video.


  11. Just spent an entire day at a David Allen “Getting Things Done” seminar, learning how to do front-end thinking about what I want to “do”, so that when it comes time for “doing” I don’t have to “think” about it! It’s essentially just what you’re talking about, and I think it totally works (as it did for you– you look well rested!)

    Great post. :)

    .-= Carley´s last blog takeaway from the “getting things done” seminar in toronto =-.

  12. Try moving your to-do list into your calendar. When you get a pop-up, you’ll be more likely to stop what you’re doing and get back to the important things.

  13. This is something I have always known to be something I should do every now and then, and yet it’s never something I actually do. Sometimes I think about how I should maybe take a break and get off my computer, but that thought is quickly replaced with “ooO what’s this, -click-” or something, and continue to NOT do things I was trying to get done.

    Computers are evil like that.
    .-= Jared´s last blog ..Up My Butt Doing What with a Coconut? =-.

  14. I think we’ve all been guilty of that one way or the other, its a way of procrastinating and we might not notice it but we are wasting A LOT of time doing/checking our emails. It’s one of those things that we don’t notice when we look at it on a daily basis but when we compile it all, the results mgiht shock you.

  15. I love the blog layout . How was it made. It is rather cool!