Not productive enough? Turn off the Internet

Four weeks ago I had 5,250 emails in my inbox. Today? 10.

What’s the difference? I’ve been on lots of airplanes in the past month. Why is that important? Because in airplanes there’s no Internet. Nothing to distract you. I find I can answer about 10x more email in a plane than I can on the ground when the Internet is there to distract me.

That taught me an important lesson.

Want to get something done? Turn off Twitter. Turn off Facebook. Turn off blog comments. Turn off FriendFeed. Turn off Flickr. Turn off YouTube. Turn off Dave Winer’s blog and Huffington Post. Turn off TechMeme.

Turn off the distractions.

Another datapoint? When I talked with Linda Stone a couple months ago (she came up with the term “continuous partial attention” which describes the kind of world we live in when we have Twitter bringing a new post to us every two seconds).

I told her I had one goal in my life, other than to be a good father and a better husband: to have an interesting conversation every day.

She said that was “attention management” at its highest form she’d heard it so far.

What are your goals? Is it to have more followers on Twitter? Or is it to get something done today?

Why can’t we get into the productive state of mind that being trapped in an airplane for 10 hours without the Internet causes?

I just sent 200 emails that I answered over the Atlantic. What a flow state I was in.

Something about being bored causes us to be more productive. Luckily I have lots more trips coming up soon, so I’ll keep up with my email.

More from Israel soon (I’m sitting in Heathrow right now waiting for my flight — of course I’m not being productive because the Internet is back on again. Damn distractions! 🙂 Heheh).

It might also have to do with the fact that I hate doing email, so avoid it until there’s nothing else to do. Either way, I’m productive. If you count answering email as being productive.