Could you live without e-mail for 30 days? No smartphone, no work e-mail, no personal e-mail. Writer and comedian Katie Goodman put herself on a 30-day e-mail detox and chronicled her experience for an article in the March 2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. Katie talks with Gayle about what she learned and how being e-mail-free has changed her life.
Katie says some of her co-workers weren't too happy when their e-mail messages to her bounced back. The good thing about that, Katie says, was that more people began calling her on the phone or stopping by to see her to have a real conversation. "On e-mail, you're not having a conversation—you're pontificating, you're making speeches at each other, little mini-speeches with no interruptions," she says.
While she may have missed out on a few important bits of information while on her e-mail detox, Katie says she realized the impact e-mail can on people's egos. "It really struck me how all-important we all think we are," she says. "I think when you take a break from something—you go to a retreat center, you go to a spa, you get a massage for an hour—it really gives you a minute to step back," she says.
Now that the detox is over, Katie says she tries to approach the way she uses her e-mail differently. She says she waits at least an hour in the morning before checking her new messages, and she doesn't constantly check her e-mail throughout the day. "If everything you're doing is so important and all you're doing is racing to get things accomplished—which is what I feel like e-mail is doing … you're going to miss out."